Fin Whale

Bruce Mate

Latin name: Balaenoptera physalus

Fin whales are endangered from whaling like other large whales. We have conducted tagging research to identify their migrations and home ranges in three different populations. Animals off the coast of Southern California appear to be from perhaps two different stocks, one of which is more resident year round and one which migrates into the Gulf of Alaska and as far south as 10 degrees north of the equator. Fin whales inside the Gulf of California are resident all year round, while those in the Mediterranean may represent two separate populations, one which stays in the Mediterranean during winter and one which goes out into the North Atlantic. Fin whales are among the fastest of the whales. We have seen animals make extensive trips without slowing down, which is more typical of migration between feeding and breeding areas. 

More information


Cotté CGuinet CTaupier-Letage IMate BPetiau EScale-dependent habitat use by a large free-ranging predator, the Mediterranean fin whale. Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers. 2009 ;56(5):801 - 811.