Minke Whale
Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Joana Romero

The Minke Whale is the smallest of the baleen whales, reaching up to 10 meters long. The body is slim, with pointed head and a high and curved dorsal fin. When it comes to the surface it is possible to observe the blowhole and dorsal fin at the same time. The pectoral fins have a white spot at the base.

This species is resident in Portugal, being regularly observed in our waters all year round. This small whale can be found in pelagic waters as well as in coastal shallow waters with less than 200 m depth. Nevertheless, the mink-whale has a small and declining population. Usually these whales are solitary, though it can be observed in small groups that sometimes approach boats, thus providing good observations. Sometimes they jump out of the water but without showing its fin tail.

They feed on fish such as sardines, pushing the shoals to the surface and being frequently associated with seabirds feeding, such as Cory's Shearwaters, Gannets and gulls. Unfortunately, the Minke Whales suffer frequent accidents with fishing gear often resulting in the death of individuals.