[MARMAM] Publication of memoir on Soviet whaling

Phillip.Clapham at noaa.gov Phillip.Clapham at noaa.gov
Sat Nov 15 15:05:24 PST 2008

The USSR's massive campaign of illegal whaling began in 1948 and continued into the 1970's.  During this time, the Soviets killed well over 200,000 more whales than they reported to the IWC, resulting in the devastation of many populations.

Although much has been published about this topic since the initial revelations about Soviet whaling by Professor Alexei Yablokov and other former Soviet biologists, almost all of the published papers to date have concerned correction of the catch record.

Alfred A. Berzin was chief of the marine mammal lab in Vladivostok, and as such was a witness to the major period of Soviet illegal whaling.  Berzin died in 1996, but he left behind an extensive memoir entitled "The Truth About Soviet Whaling".  This has now been translated into English from the original Russian, and was published this week as a special issue of the journal Marine Fisheries Review.  Berzin's memoir is available online, free of charge, at this URL:


The memoir is a very personal account of Soviet whaling, including its political, social and economic context.  It is often grim reading, but also fascinating.  The memoir also includes many unique photographs taken by Berzin during his years aboard Soviet factory ships.

Phil Clapham and Yulia Ivashchenko
National Marine Mammal Laboratory, Seattle
phillip.clapham at noaa.gov, yulia.ivashchenko at noaa.gov

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