Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena)


The Harbour Porpoise is the smallest and most abundant cetacean around Iceland. They are usually shy but occasionally they come and play around the boats. They can be relatively hard to spot from a distance due to their size and their abundance depends entirely on the food availability of our shores since they are opportunistic feeders. They tend to be more common in summer, but they are often seen in winter as well. Calm weather is the best conditions to see this species since they travel quite quickly and they are often seen with their young in late summer, early autumn.

Length: 1.5-2 meters
Weight: 55-70 kg
Life expectancy: 15 years
Est. population around Iceland: 25,000- 27,000
Social behaviour: Very social, usual group size is between 3-20 can be found in their hundreds
Diet: Fish, squid
Suborder: Odontoceti – Toothed Whale
Family: Phocoenidae
IUCN Listing: Least Concern
Major threats: Climate change, chemical and noise pollution, human disturbance, bycatch
Other Names: Hnísa, Schweinswal, Marsouin Commun, Marsopa Común, Marsvin, Nise, Tumlare