Following serious over-exploitation from the 1600s until the 1930s, the southern right whale population became dangerously low (2) (7). International protection in 1935 allowed a slow increase, but illegal whaling continued into the 1960s. Since then, the population has been increasing at the calculated 'maximum rate' (6). However, whilst this huge and unsustainable threat has largely been eliminated, pressures on the southern right whale still exist. Disturbance from vessels, divers, coastal industrial activity, entanglement in fishing gear and pollution are all concerns (2).
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