Commercial whaling led to the large scale decline of the global bowhead whale population. The bowhead whale was first protected under the 1931 League of Nations Convention. In 1964, commercial whaling of bowheads was regulated by the International Whaling Commission. It was later protected by the Endangered Species Preservation Act of 1966 then the Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. In 1973 it was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. The bowhead whale is also listed as depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
For general information on Bowhead Whale, see the Wildlife Notebook Series entry for Bowhead Whale (PDF 46 kB).