Prey Species Study of Minke Whale (food)

From: Pita Admininstrator (
Date: Fri Jan 11 2002 - 08:57:47 EST

Olsen, E. and Holst, J.C. 2001 A note on common minke whale (Balaenoptera
acutorostrata) diets in the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. J. Cetacean
Research and Management 3(2):179-183
Reprints are available as PDF file from the first author (e-mail:
Visual observations and quantitative samples of forestomach contents were
made of minke whales caught in the Norwegian Sea (15 visual observations in
1999, 8 in 2000 and 1 stomach sample) and North Sea (15 visual observations
and 7 stomach samples, all from 1999). Prey species were identified, and
from the forestomach samples, each prey's relative contribution by weight to
the diet was calculated. In the Norwegian Sea, the diet was dominated by
Norwegian spring-spawning herring (100%). This was consistent with the large
and dominant abundance of herring in the area. Observations and forestomach
samples from the North Sea indicated a more varied diet, with sandeel
(Ammodytes spp.) contributing 86.7% to the diet by weight, followed by
mackerel (9.3%), whiting (2.4%), herring (1.1%) and Norway pout (0.5%).
Haddock was observed in one stomach, but was not found in any of the
samples. Sandeel occurred in all observed and four of the sampled stomachs.
The domination of pelagic species in the diet strongly indicates pelagic
feeding behaviour in both areas.
Keywords: common minke whale; ecosystem; feeding grounds; fish; food/prey

Best regards

Erik Olsen MSc Fisheries Biology
Institute of Marine Research
PO Box 1870 Nordnes
N-5817 Bergen
e-mail:, phone: +47 55 23 86 06
fax: +47 55 23 86 87, mobile: +47 934 39 256

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