Whales

Climate change could make it harder for blue whales to find food

Whale.
Baby blue whale nursing captured off the South Coast of Sri Lanka in 2015. Photo: Patrick Dykstra/Barcroft Images

Blue whales, which are the largest creatures on Earth, rely on their memory of productive foraging sites in order to seek out prey.

Why it matters: This insight, which comes from a new study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, helps explain how these oceanic behemoths can reach such massive sizes. It also identifies a vulnerability that could challenge the species as warming and acidifying waters cause fish to shift in abundance and range, making historical knowledge less useful to the emerging reality.

Japan to restart commercial whaling for the first time in 30 years

A beached whale that was hunted
Photo: Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images.

Japan announced Wednesday that it will be leaving the International Whale Commission so that it can resume commercial whale hunting for the first time in 30 years, the AP reports.

The big picture: Previously, Japan had conducted whale hunting in the Southern Ocean as part of what it claimed was a research program, but environmentalists and officials from other nations criticized it as an illegitimate commercial hunt. Now the country's withdrawing from the IWC entirely. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who said the organization is run by conservationists, said whale stocks have recovered enough to resume commercial hunts. Suga said commercial whaling will resume in July in Japanese territorial waters and economic zones only, leaving the controversial Antarctic waters alone.