The blue whale was driven to the brink of extinction by commercial whaling in the 1800s and early 1900s. This species was protected from commercial whaling by the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling in 1966. In 1970, the blue whale was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Conservation Act, the predecessor to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). When the ESA was passed in 1973, the blue whale was listed as endangered throughout its range. It is also listed as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
For general information on Blue Whale, see the Wildlife Notebook Series entry for Blue Whale (PDF 42 kB).