The North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission

Contact

Upcoming events:

NAMMCO 25

Common Minke Whale

MRI Hrefnaminke jumping
Photo: Marine research Institute, Iceland

The common minke whale is the smallest of the balaenopterids, or rorquals. It attains a length of 8-9 m and a weight of about 8 tonnes in the North Atlantic. As with all balaenopterids, the females are somewhat larger than the males. Common minke whales are black or dark grey dorsally and white on the ventral side. A transverse white band is characteristic for the species in the Northern Hemisphere. With a worldwide distribution, it is the most common of the rorquals.

Minke Dist all NASS Coda SNESSA COMPRESSED FOR WEB

Summer distribution of minke whales in the North Atlantic, showing sightings and effort from all North Atlantic Sightings surveys, 1987 - 2007, as well as 2007 CODA and SNESSA surveys.

Distribution

Common minke whales carry out extensive seasonal migrations, moving from wintering areas in the tropics or sub-tropics to higher latitude feeding areas in the summer. Major summering areas include the North, Norwegian and Barents Seas, the coastal waters of Iceland, east and west Greenland, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the northeastern coast of the USA.

Abundance

The most abundant baleen whale. Over 180,000 in the North Atlantic (NAMMCO 2011b, IWC 2010).

Relation to Humans

Whaling by Norway, Iceland and Greenland takes over 700 minke whales per year. All of this harvest is used for food.

Conservation and Management

International management regime by the International Whaling Commission and NAMMCO. All stocks are considered to be in a healthy state and not threatened by present levels of exploitation.

 

North Atlantic management areas: exploitation and assessment status 

Minke Mgt areas COMPRESSED FOR WEB

 

Minke assessment table

References