A long- standing prohibition on the operation of factory ships north of 40°S except in the North Pacific north of 20°N meant that Bryde’s whale populations largely escaped the consequences of whaling suffered by baleen whale species that feed in higher latitudes, although this regulation was not respected by Soviet whaling fleets in the 1960s, nor by the pirate whaling ship Sierra in the 1970s. However, some populations such as the East China Sea and South African Inshore stocks may have been reduced by whaling.
Pelagic whaling for Bryde’s whales was suspended in the North Pacific from 1980 following a ban by the IWC on most factory ship whaling, but catches continued from the coast of Japan and the Bonin Islands until 1987. Pelagic whaling resumed in the western North Pacific in 2000 under special permits issued by the Japanese authorities, but to date catches have been limited to 50 per year (IWC 2006a). Like most cetaceans, Bryde’s whales are occasionally by-caught in fishing gear, but they do not appear to be especially susceptible. Records of vessel strikes are also rare.