IKAN Guide to Whales

Minke Whale - Balaenoptera acutorostrata

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The adult Minke Whale measures around 7 -10 meters in length and weighs anywhere between 5 -15 tons.

The minke whale is the smallest whale of a group of whales known as the Rorqual Whales (Any of several baleen whales of the family Balaenopteridae having longitudinal grooves on the throat and a small, pointed dorsal fin). The minke whale is regarded as a common species and is distributed worldwide. They can be seen in both hemispheres in temperate, tropical as well as polar climates and in both inshore and offshore waters, which testifies to their remarkable adaptive capability. Minke whales belong to the family Balaenopteridae, that means they possess baleen plates to filter out small crustacean and fish from the ocean. The minke whales are fast swimmers, can remain underwater for as long as 20 minutes and can suddenly change their movements underwater making them very difficult to follow. There are two different populations in the coast of Japan. One distributes in the Sea of Okhotsk called O-stock and the other one is called J-stock, as Sea of Japan is their habitat. Japan takes 100 animals from the O-stock each year by the name of 'research whaling' and whale meat is sold on the domestic market. However, recent study from New Zealand scientists showed that almost 40% of minke whale meat in the market are possibly from J-stock.