North Atlantic right whales were the main prey for whalers. The animals move slowly, live near the coasts, and do not sink to the bottom after being injured – these are the main reasons for whaling this particular species. In the 16th century, they were exterminated by tens of thousands. In the 17th and 18th, their number in the Atlantic Ocean was drastically reduced. Later, Pacific right whales shared their fate.
At present, there are about 300 North Atlantic right whales. Hunting for them is prohibited. However, the number of animals does not increase. Low birth rate and the impact of climate change are some of the factors that restrain the growth of the population. The migration of individuals of this species between Spain and France has ceased. Lone right whales that have strayed from the western Atlantic are occasionally found in the eastern part of the ocean.