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Scientific Name: Balaenoptera acutorostrata
Suborder: Mysticeti
Family: Balaenopteridae
Size: 7 - 10 m
Weight: 5000 - 15000 Kg
Group Size: 1 - 4 individuals
Habitat: Inshore, Offshore
Hemisphere: Both
Common Minke Whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
The Common Minke Whale is the smallest member of the "Balaenopteridae" family (Rorquals).
The name "acutorostrata" (which means in Latin "with a long rostrum") accounts for one of the most distinctive features of this species: a sharply pointed, flat snout.
A single, clearly visible median ridge starts right in front of the blowholes up to the very top of the snout. The mouth line is straight.

The sickle-shaped dorsal fin is remarkably tall if compared to the total size of the body, and it is in proportion taller than in any other Rorqual.
A slender and streamlined body allows this whale to reach considerable speeds.

Individuals in the Northern Hemisphere have a horizontal white band around their flippers.

The Common Minke Whale is not an easy animal to be identified at sea.
It usually shows very little of itself and tends to be quite shy.
In some areas, though, it can be quite inquisitive and freely approaches slow-moving or stationary boats.
When breaching, it often leaves the water at 45° and lands on its belly with a remarkable splash. Big splashes are also common when it surfaces while swimming at speed.
Minkes strongly arch their back and tail stock when diving, though they do not raise their flukes above the surface.

Unlike its strictly southern cousin (the Antarctic Minke Whale, Balaenoptera bonaerensis), the Common Minke Whale is found in almost every sea of both Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Three distinct populations are known: North Atlantic, North Pacific and Southern Hemisphere. As for all Mysticeti (baleen whales), females are slightly larger than males.

The baleen plates are small, up to just 30-35 cm.
The diet of Common Minkes is primarily based on Krill and small schooling fish. Their feeding behaviour, called lunge-feeding, consists in swimming into the krill (or school of fish) and gulping large volume of food-rich water. The prey is then sieved by the baleens, as the water is pushed out by means of their powerful tongue.

The Common Minke Whale is still hunted commercially by Japanese and Norwegian whalers.
It is important to point out that in 1982 the IWC (International Whaling Commission) took a decision "that catch limits for all commercial whaling would be set to zero".
Such measure came into force in 1986.
Since then, IWC keeps refusing to adopt Japan's proposal for "an interim relief allocation of 50 Minke Whales to be taken by coastal community-based whaling" and Norway "has exercised its right to set national catch limits for its coastal whaling operations for minke whales. The Commission passed a Resolution calling on Norway to halt all whaling activities under its jurisdiction."
You can follow this link to read the full article in the IWC web site.

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Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving Discover the Azores
Whale Watching Swim with the Dolphins Scuba Diving The Azores

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