This study examines the American whaling industry, which was based in New England and dominated most of the Western oil market in the 18th and 19th centuries. Previous studies by the author examined why the industry was attracted to this region, highlighting the favorable economic environment of the area, which allowed investors to accumulate the necessary funds to launch whaling ventures. Each investment consortium that provided funds to whaling vessels organized limited partnerships with individual vessels. This enabled consortiums to collect funds from a variety of stakeholders other than just businessmen involved in whaling and their families. Crewmembers of the vessel, reflecting the multi-racial society of the United States, were also free to select employers without relying on a conventional employer-employee relationship. Taken together, these factors led to New England attracting funds and labor from both within the region and further afield, and developing into the whaling center of the United States.
An additional reason for New England's development as a whaling base was the global expansion of the industry to cover the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, with only the Southern Ocean not affected by this growth. Crewmembers were also paid from a ship's profits using the lay system. This payment by piece ratio ensured a minimum payment to crewmembers while guaranteeing a return for investors. The hiring of native islanders as part-time laborers in the whalers' areas of operation also kept expenditure to a minimum, with all of these factors contributing to investors' profits.
Against this background, the whaling industry prospered and profited up until the 1850s. In the 1870s, however, the industry started to decline as whale resources decreased and the price of whale oil fell as a result of increased petroleum production. This study examines the details of how whaling voyages were managed during this period and how New England's whaling industry underwent a rapid transformation into a mechanized cotton industry with the owners of whaling vessels switching their investments to the cotton industry at New Bedford, the center of the whaling industry in New England. The rapid change from industrial whaling to the mechanical cotton industry in New England was made possible with the abundant funds accumulated by the whaling industry. The reestablishment of consortiums progressed smoothly as limited partnerships already existed and the labor market adapted efficiently from supplying whaling vessels to supplying female workers for the cotton industry due to the presence of non-conventional employment rules.
We can see, therefore, in this region the development from one industry to another was controlled only by market-based mechanisms of American management. This is in sharp contrast to the Japanese fishing industry, which developed from a manufacturing fishery through technological innovation and utilizing community manpower or industrial power as the only motive force under limited investment and labor market conditions.