As others below have said, the more awareness that is offered to whales provides for more safety. It's a chain effect. Media attention, donations, better funding, etc, have all successfully managed to improve how the world sees and perceives the whales, and what can be done to help prevent their extinction.
With the widespread use of the Internet, many more people have become aware of the plight of these animals. Media attention is more widespread on this issue. Thus, more people can research the problem with whales and can react much quicker. The message is definitely getting out, and that has gotten a lot more people involved in saving the whales. With more people, more can be done. The movement to save the whales is stronger than every before, keeping whales safer from their enemies.
The stigma on whaling had changed things so much since the 1970's but the the bottom line is there is so much work to be done. There are whales that are still in danger thanks to whaling and this is something that is still bothersome. Its a matter of time before it gets handled.
I think that whales today are safer because the stigma behind poaching whales is so much more intense today than it was during the 70's. I think the movement during the 70's to save the whales did a lot of good to help whales but at the time, I think whales were in more immediate danger than today.