Awareness of Whale Conservation Status and Whaling Policy in the U.S.
This study of the knowledge and awareness of whaling issues among university students found a general lack of awareness of the conservation status of whales and U.S. policies toward whaling, suggesting the need for greater public outreach regarding whale conservation.
Given a list of whale species, 39% of university students incorrectly thought the humpback whale was the most threatened whale species, compared with 5% who correctly identified the North Pacific whale on the list. Less than one-fourth of respondents (24%) had heard of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), although most of these students could correctly state its function.
When asked what they believed U.S. government policy was toward hunting whales, 40% believed that the U.S. government was opposed to all whale hunting, 32% said that only aboriginal whaling was supported, 24% said that the government supports sustainable commercial whaling, and 4% thought the government supported all forms of commercial whaling. These findings suggest that more outreach is needed to educate the public about the conservation status of whales, particularly among 18-26 year-olds.