Harbour porpoise


Harbour porpoise
Scientific name:
Phocoena phocoena
Coastal waters of the northern hemisphere in the Atlantic and Pacific, also in the western and northern Baltic Sea
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)
8 – 10 years (max. 23 years)
Diving depth and duration:
2 meters / 1 – 5 min, max. 220 meters
Fish (herring, goby, cod, sole, sand eel), crustaceans
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