Length: 1,5–2 meters
Weight: 55–70 kilograms
Worldwide population: Unknown
Life expectancy: About 30 years
males weigh about 7 kg and are less than 2 m long.
Females are equally long and weigh 55-60 kg.
Life expectancy is about 30 years.
The upper body is dark grey, the sides lighter, and the
underbelly white. Dark
stripes between the small flippers and the mouth.
The dorsal fin is a low triangle.
Each jaw has 40-60 paddle-like teeth.
Diving time is usually 2-6 minutes and the whale dives
down to 10-100 m for food.
Its diet is mainly fish, but also squid and krill.
Porpoises are found in shoals of 2-10, but sometimes
200-300 are seen together.
They seldom leap out of the water.
The main habitats of the porpoises are in the northern seas, the
Atlantic- and Pacific Oceans.
Females reach puberty at the age of 3-4 and males later.
Usually each cow gives birth to one calf every year and
the gestation period is 10-11 months.
Harbour porpoises were caught all around the country,
especially off the Breidafiord Bay and the Westfiords.
It often is tangled up in lumpfish nets and the meat is
used. It is
exploited off the coasts of Washington, Canada and Greenland.
The world population is unknown.
The harbour porpoise is probably endangered by the
increasing pollution of the oceans.
Harbour porpoises were traditionally hunted for food, as well as for their blubber, which was used for lighting fuel. The drive hunt in the Little Belt strait, Denmark, is the best known example. Thousands of porpoises were caught there until the end of the 19th century and again in smaller scale during the world
wars. Currently, however, this species is not subject to commercial hunting, but it is hunted for food and sold locally in Greenland. In prehistoric times, this animal was hunted by the Alby People of the east coast of Oland, Sweden.
The Harbour porpoise populations of the North Sea, Baltic Sea, western North Atlantic, Black Sea and North West Africa are listed on Appendix
II of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS). This listing means that these populations have an unfavourable conservation status or would benefit significantly from international co-operation organised by tailored
In addition, the Harbour porpoise is covered by the Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS), the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans in the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area (ACCOBAMS) and the Memorandum of Understanding Concerning the Conservation of the Manatee and Small Cetaceans of Western Africa and Macaronesia (Western African Aquatic Mammals MoU)..
Currently, the total population is in the hundreds of thousands and the harbour porpoise is not under threat of extinction. There are, however, a number of threats that impact population distribution and numbers.
Interactions with fisheries
The main threat to porpoises is static fishing techniques such as gill and tangle nets. Bycatch in bottom-set gill nets is considered the main anthropogenic mortality factor for harbour porpoises worldwide. Bycatch is reported from the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the east coast of the United States and Canada. Bottom-set gill nets are anchored to the sea floor and are up to 12.5 miles (20 km) in length. It is unknown why porpoises become entangled in gill nets, since several studies indicate they are able to detect these nets using their
echolocation. Porpoise-scaring devices, so-called pingers, have been developed to keep porpoises out of nets and numerous studies have demonstrated they are very effective at reducing
entanglement. However, concern has been raised over the noise pollution created by the pingers and whether their efficiency will diminish over time due to porpoises habituating to the
Mortality resulting from trawling bycatch seems to be less of an issue, probably because porpoises are not inclined to feed inside trawls, as dolphins are known to do.
Harbour porpoises prefer temperate and subarctic waters. They inhabit fjords, bays, estuaries and harbours, hence their
name. They feed mostly on small pelagic schooling fish, particularly herring, capelin, and
sprat. They will, however, eat squid and crustaceans in certain
places. This species tends to feed close to the sea bottom, at least for waters less than 200 m
deep. However, when hunting spat, porpoise may stay closer to the
surface. When in deeper waters, porpoises may forage for mid-water fish, such as
Harbour porpoises tend to be solitary foragers, but they do sometimes hunt in packs and herd fish
together. Young porpoises need to consume about 7% to 8% of their body weight each day to survive, which is approximately 15 pounds or 7 kilograms of fish. Significant predators of harbour porpoises include white sharks and killer whales (orcas). Researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland have also discovered that the local bottlenose dolphins attack and kill harbour porpoises without eating them due to competition for a decreasing food supply
hope to save the whales - again
backs Iceland's whaling decision Seattle Post
Intelligencer - 18 Oct 2006
TOKYO -- Major pro-whaling nation Japan on
Wednesday welcomed Iceland's decision to resume
commercial whaling, saying Iceland's catch
won't "endanger the whale ...
whaling decision condemned Stuff.co.nz
'disappointed' by Iceland's whaling plans ABC
begin on Iceland's whaling BBC News
and Critics.com - Radio
dismayed at Iceland whaling decision
Scoop.co.nz (press release), New Zealand -
News that Iceland is to begin commercial whaling
after a 20-year
hiatus is being greeted with dismay by
Green Party Conservation Spokesperson Metiria Turei. ...
to Resume Commercial Whaling
Los Angeles Times, CA - 17 Oct 2006
REYKJAVIK, Iceland -- Iceland said Tuesday
it would resume commercial whaling after a nearly
two-decade moratorium, defying a worldwide ban on
hunting the ...
warrior to come to Iceland IcelandReview, Iceland -
... According to RÚV, the US government is also
opposed to Iceland resuming commercial whaling
and has the power to block all imports from Iceland
to USA. ...
Scoop Just Politics News Summary 17
Scoop.co.nz (press release), New Zealand - commercial whaling administered by the
International Whaling Commission. See... Greens
dismayed at Iceland whaling decision
Finnair strike expected to continue next week
International Herald Tribune, France -
... "We have received several e-mails from
people saying they have decided not to visit Iceland
as long as Iceland is conducting whaling,"
said Thorunn ...
Tharp She Gets Shot! The Return of Whaling in Iceland
19 Oct 2006
Plenty Magazine, NY -
which Iceland’s whales have been protected from hunters came to an end on Tuesday, when the country’s
lawmakers voted to resume commercial whaling in the ...
is affecting tourism IcelandReview, Iceland -
19 Oct 2006
... of Swiss travel agency Baldinger Reisen AG sent a written statement to icelandreview.com yesterday,
expressing his concerns about Iceland resuming whaling.
FiNS Magazine, Singapore - 18 Oct 2006
... For a good overview on the Iceland
decision and the issues associated with commercial whaling
in general, see this recent article in the Guardian. ...
to resume commercial whaling after almost 2
USA Today 17-10-06
Critics say the "scientific" whaling
practiced by Japan and Iceland is a sham. Norway
ignores the moratorium altogether and openly conducts
- Preparations for the Resumption of ...
Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) is the leading
international charity dedicated solely to the worldwide conservation and
welfare of all ... www.wdcs.org/dan/publishing.nsf/
NEWS | Science/Nature | Moves begin on Iceland's whaling
ambassador to Britain is summoned to explain his country's return to
commercial whaling. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6064028.stm
NEWS | Science/Nature | Iceland bids to resume whaling
reveals its plans to catch whales again for the first time since 1989,
despite the international whaling moratorium. news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2910655.stm
Whaling v/s Whale watching. Whaling v/s Whale
most commonly used argument in Iceland is that whaling must
be resumed before the whales start ... Yearly report on Iceland
whale watching industry: ... www.global500.org/news_83.html
opinion: Iceland's reasons for scientific whaling are FUBAR
and if we can ... I wonder how many of you criticising Iceland's
whaling have actually read ... weblog.greenpeace.org/iceland/archives/001530.html
Icelandic Whaling: Arctic Sunrise Expedition 2005, Stop Icelandic
Whaling: Arctic ... tourism in Iceland IF Iceland
discontinues whaling. One Icelandic ...
'disappointed' by Iceland's whaling plans. 19/10/2006
says it is very disappointed Iceland has decided to resume
commercial whaling Iceland has authorised an annual hunt of 30
minke and nine of the ...
whaling proposal threatens its growing whale-watching industry.
In 2002, more than 62000 people went whale-watching in Iceland.
backs Iceland's whaling decision - Yahoo! News
pro-whaling nation Japan on Wednesday welcomed Iceland's
decision to resume commercial whaling, saying Iceland's
catch won't "endanger the whale ...
on the Net - Iceland Whaling Protest Letter
am appalled to learn that Iceland has decided to resume commercial whaling
under the guise of scientific research, and plans to kill 38 minke whales
this ... www.whales.org.au/alert/iceletter.html
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