Why They Matter
Whales are at the top of the food chain and have an important role in the overall health of the marine environment. They are also highly vulnerable to human activities in the ocean. The sei whale became a major target for commercial whaling after the preferred stocks of blue and fin whales had been depleted. Today, although commercial whaling has been officially halted, the species is subject to "scientific whaling" by Japan—that is, killing whales for scientific research.