The Guardian view on the blue whale’s comeback: an ocean’s glory restored | Editorial

The Guardian view on the blue whale’s comeback: an ocean’s glory restored | Editorial

News that the biggest mammal is returning in numbers to Antarctica signals a conservation triumph

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.” Captain Ahab’s splenetic, dying declaration of defiance, as Moby Dick destroys his whaling ship and sends it below the waves of the Pacific Ocean, is among the most famous passages in Herman Melville’s extraordinary novel.

In reality, such triumphs of the hunted over the hunter were a fantasy in the brutal world of industrial whaling. The biggest cetacean of them all, the blue whale, had all but disappeared from the Southern Ocean by the time a ban on hunting it was introduced in 1967.

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