Hopp til hovedteksten
Print friendly version

Whales in Norwegian waters

In the Norwegian seas, we have about 20 species of whales. Some of these live here all year round, while others are more or less random guests.

Whales are systematically divided into two main groups: baleen whales and toothed whales. The largest group, toothed whales, consists of over 70 species worldwide, of which 14 are registered in Norwegian waters.

There are at least 14 sub species of baleen whales. Seven of them are registered in our waters. The biggest one is the blue whale, which have been measured at over 33 meters in length and a weight of over 170 tonnes. In Norwegian waters, porpoise is the smallest species with a maximum length of 1.5-1.8 meters.

Today Norway operates commercial catch of minke whales.

Facts about Blue whale

Name: Balaenoptera musculus
Family: Balaenopteridae - Fin whale family
Body size: The largest animals in the world. In the Southern Ocean there was measured specimens over 33 feet long, with an estimated weight up to 190 tons. In the North Atlantic the maximum size is somewhat smaller.
Max age: Uncertain, but it is not unlikely that some individuals can become up to 100 years old.
Distribution: Blue whales can be found in all of the world's oceans, but are few in numbers. In the summer they can be found regularly around Jan Mayen and west of Spitsbergen. In the Northeast Atlantic it is most numerous south and west of Iceland (Denmark Strait). Blue whale counts probably about 1,000 individuals in the North Atlantic, and the numbers seems to be rising.
Prey: Krill (different species of small crustaceans, euphausides).
Characteristics: The blue whale is also in a historical perspective, the Earth's largest animal. The calf is about 7 meters in lenght and weighs approx. 2.5 tons at birth.

Blue Whale

Facts about killer whales

Latin name: Orcinus orca
Family: Delphinidae - Dolphin family
Other names: Killer whale, orca 
Body size: Male 6–9 meters and approximately 6 tonnes, females 5–7 meters and approximately 4 tonnes
Max age: Males approximately 30 years, females approximately 50 years
Distribution: Killer whales can be found in all of the worlds oceans
Prey: Fish, particularly herring
Charasteristics: Killer whales are very sociable with well-organised groups, ab. 5–15 individes. 

Killer whale

Facts about Minke whale

Latin name: Balaenoptera acutorostrata 
Max size: 9 m long and 5–8 tonnes in Norwegian waters
Life span: At least 30 years
DistributionMinke whales can be found in all of the world's oceans
Birthing area: Probably in warmer waters
Prey: Plankton and fish
Characteristics: One of the most difficult whales to observe because it is unobtrusive spout up only surface a few seconds at a time

Common minke whale