Harbour porpoise

 

Name:
Harbour porpoise
Scientific name:
Phocoena phocoena
Distribution:
Coastal waters of the northern hemisphere in the Atlantic and Pacific, also in the western and northern Baltic Sea
Description:
Compared to other toothed whales, the rostrum is much shorter
Weight and size:
Males: 60 kg and 145 cm in length, females: 75 kg and 150 cm in length (max female: 90 kg and 180 cm in length)
Lifespan:
8 – 10 years (max. 23 years)
Diving depth and duration:
2 meters / 1 – 5 min, max. 220 meters
Diet:
Fish (herring, goby, cod, sole, sand eel), crustaceans
Predator:
Grey seals, great white shark
Threatened by:
Noise pollution, chemical pollution, marine debris (macro debris: entanglements, injuries, internal blockages; micro plastics: immunosuppression), fisheries interactions (bycatch, entanglements, collisions, fish stock depletion), disturbance (social behaviours, communication, feeding, breading), habitat degradation and loss
IUCN red list status:
Least concern, Baltic Sea subpopulation is critically endangered
Special features:
The only cetacean species found in the Baltic Sea with two spatially separated populations.
Recent research projects:
Germany, 2012, Dähne, researchers are investigating effects of pile-driving on harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) at the first offshore wind farm in Germany
Netherlands, 2015, Leopold, researchers are observing predation of harbour porpoises by grey seals
Photo Harbour porpoise © Peter Verhoog/Fjord&Baelt