Blue Whale Unit

A blue whale unit (BWU) was a unit of measurement used in the regulation of whaling. It was originally used by a cartel of whaling companies in the Antarctic Ocean in the 1930s. It was later used by the International Whaling Commission through the 1960s to measure nations respective whale quotas.[1] One blue whale unit can be expressed in terms of: one blue whale, two fin whales, two and a half humpback whale, or six sei whales. The ratios are roughly based on the relative amounts of oil that each species yields.[2]


  1. Burnett, D. Graham (2012). The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0226081304.
  2. Gulland, J.A. "Fisheries Management and the Limitations of Fishing". Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2012.

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