Cutting in a Humpback whale, shore station
Whales and Whaling pictures

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Whales and whaling

Cutting in a Humpback Whale at Provincetown, Massachusetts. The precursor to whaling ships that processed whales while still at sea was the shore station. Here, a try-works built of brick is placed on the quay and a captured whale has been brought to shore to be flensed of blubber and otherwise processed.

Keeping the whale in the shallows made it possible to turn it over more easily as the flensing proceeded and meant that it was stable at the same time.

This was possible in the early whaling days when whales were plentiful and came near to shore. As time went on and the stocks were depleted or more probably, those populations that tended to swim close to shore were wiped out, so whaling had to progress more and more offshore.

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Picture used courtesy NOAA