Marine Mammal Science & Conservation

Fin whale

Northern Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus)

Group formation: Solitary-gregarious (2-15 loose, feeding groups > 100)

Size: males 18-20, females 20-25 m, calf 6.5 m

Weight: 40-80 t, calf 1.8 t

Spout: ca. 6 m, narrow

Age: 90-140 yrs

Sexual maturity: 6-12 yrs

Physical maturity: 20-30 yrs

Gestation: 11 months, 2-3 yrs between births

Weaning: 6-7 months

Diet: small schooling fish, squid, crustaceans (incl. copepods, krill).

Distribution: Northern and Southern hemisphere sub-species, cosmopolitan from tropic to Polar Regions

Norway: Northern hemisphere population migrates yearly between equatorial regions (e.g. Azores) and the Barents Sea. They arrive at the coast of northern Norway in June-July and leave after the herring feast in February. In the Vestfjord, fin whales are seen during the months June-September either solitary, mother calf pairs or in groups of more than 15 individuals.

Population size: global ca. 100.000-190.000, heavily exploited

Conservation Status:
Endangered A1d ver 3.1, Pop. trend: unknown

Threats: Vessel collisions, whaling (Iceland, Greenland, Japan), plastic pollution, man-made noise impacts (seismic surveys, military sonar), over fishing (e.g. krill in Antarctica)

Vocalizations: voices in the sea fin whale