The fin is the second largest whale and the second largest living animal after the blue whale, growing to nearly 27 meters (88 ft) long.
Long and slender, the fin whale's body is brownish-grey with a paler underside. There are at least two distinct subspecies: the Northern fin whale of the North Atlantic, and the larger Antarctic fin whale of the Southern Ocean. It is found in all the world's major oceans, from polar to tropical waters. It is absent only from waters close to the ice pack at both the north and south poles and relatively small areas of water away from the open ocean. The highest population density occurs in temperate and cool waters. Its food consists of small schooling fish, squid, and crustaceans including mysids and krill.
Like all other large whales, the fin whale was heavily hunted during the twentieth century and is an endangered species. Almost 750,000 fin whales were taken from the Southern Hemisphere alone between 1904 and 1979 and less than 3,000 currently remain in that region. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) has issued a moratorium on commercial hunting of this whale, although Iceland and Japan have resumed hunting: in 2009, Iceland took 125 fin whales during its whaling season, and Japan took 1 fin whale in its 2008-2009 Antarctic season. The species is also hunted by Greenlanders under the Aboriginal Subsistence Whaling provisions of the IWC. Collisions with ships and noise from human activity also significantly threaten recovery. (Wikipedia)
This is a blog of natural history notes maintained and moderated by members of the management committee of the INHT: Fiona MacGillivray, Martin Armstrong, David Webster, Andrew Kent, Isobel Freeman, Bernard Hannett, Danielle Vessey and Alistair Hutchison, and our Centre Managers, Mandy and Fiona assisted by Beth and Jenny.
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Fiona MacGillivray, Chairperson
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