The Right Whale is provided with powerful flukes, from twelve to fifteen and sometimes twenty feet in length, and five to six feet deep, and the fish occasionally uses them with disastrous effect on her pursuers. The most approved mode of fastening this species appears to be to sail right over the centre of the fish and dart the harpoon as the boat strikes her. These whales have the power of settling like a lump of lead when an offensive object comes in contact with them, so that the boat passes over in safety. The Californian Grey Whales are not large, but are reported to be the most dangerous species of the whale tribe to take. Harpoon guns, rockets, or bomb guns are said to be a necessity in their capture.
The same method of capture appears to apply to the Sulphur-bottom and Fin-back, though in shoal water it seems that the bomb gun is frequently fired first, and if there be time the harpoon is put in. If the fish sinks dead, she will rise after a certain number of hours or days, and is usually recovered.
In the space at disposal it is impossible to say much on this widespread and varied fishing industry, extending as it does over thousands of miles of the ocean, from the Arctics to the Antarctics ; but if the reader wishes for further information, he may be advised to read ' The Fisheries and Fisheries Industries of the United States,' 1887, by George Brown Goode.