Blue whales were targeted in the North Pacific from 1905–1971 and are listed as endangered by the IUCN. Despite decades without whaling, abundance estimates for eastern North Pacific (ENP) blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus) suggest little evidence for a recent increase. One possible reason is fatal strikes by large ships, which have affected populations of other cetaceans and resulted in mitigation. We used a population dynamics model to assess the trends and status of ENP blue whales, and the effects of ship strikes.

Successful ocean management needs to consider not only fishing impacts but drivers of harvest. Consolidating post-1950 global catch and economic data, we assess which attributes of fisheries are good indicators for fishery development. Surprisingly, year of development and economic value are not correlated with fishery trophic levels.