Drift whales were utilized in the earliest years of the colony, and shore boating for the baleen (or " right ") whale - rich in bone and in blubber yielding common oil - was an industry already regulated by various towns before 1650; but the pursuit of the sperm whale did not begin until about 1713.
It resembles the sperm-whale in possessing a large store of oil in the upper part of the head, which yields spermaceti when refined; on this account, and also for the sake of the blubber, which supplies an oil almost indistinguishable from sperm-oil, this whale became the object of a regular chase in the latter half of the 19th century.
The sperm-whale is one of the most widely distributed of animals, being met with, usually in herds or "schools," in almost all tropical and subtropical seas, and occasionally visiting the northern seas, a number having been killed around the Shetlands a few years ago.
Sperm-oil is obtained from the cavity in the head of the sperm-whale, and from several smaller receptacles throughout the body of the animal.
Other species seen, tho less regularly, in recent years include white-sided dolphin, common dolphin, sperm whale and pilot whale.