Stewardship and management

Red Bay National Historic Site

The Basques started hunting whales in the Bay of Biscay as early as the 11th century. By the 16th century, whale oil was a prized European commodity that was used for lamp oil, paints, varnishes and soap. When Basque cod fishermen reported large numbers of right whales in the Strait of Belle Isle, whaling expeditions were outfitted to sail to Labrador.

By the mid-16th century, at least a dozen whale oil rendering stations were located in Red Bay.

Nowhere else in the world will you find a more complete example of early industrial-scale whaling than at Red Bay, designated a World Heritage Site in 2013. Visit the interpretation centre and Saddle Island and relive the Basque whaling tradition through a remarkable collection of original artifacts, archaeological remains, videos, models and guided tours.

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