This article examines the contributions the famous Far Eastern writer Vladimir Arsen'ev made to the development of the Russian/Soviet whaling industry in the 1920s. During that time Arsen'ev worked as a “specialist for marine mammal hunting” for Dal'rybokhota. He studied the whales of the Russian Far East and helped craft the Far Eastern Republic's policy toward its subjects who wanted to start whaling. As someone with a deep knowledge of imperial-era environmental destruction and conservation, Arsen'ev helped develop measures designed to protect the region's Indigenous people and fur-bearing animals while strengthening Russian sovereignty. He also advocated the wholesale slaughter of killer whales and ultimately failed to restrain destructive commercial whaling. However, in addition to adding a new chapter to Arsen'ev's biography, his ideas about whales and whaling help us better understand the Far East's environment history and especially the way imperial-era ideas around conservation survived into the Soviet period.