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Published 2001

Read in Norwegian

Publication details

Journal : Journal of Cetacean Research and Management , vol. 3 , p. 239–249 , 2001

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 1561-0713

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Lindstrøm, Ulf; Haug, Tore

Issue : 3

If you have questions about the publication, you may contact Nofima’s Chief Librarian.

Kjetil Aune
Chief Librarian


Stomach content samples from 33 minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata), caught during Norwegian commercial whaling between
May-June 1998, were collected in four sub-areas in the southern Barents Sea. Simultaneously, a comprehensive resource survey was
conducted in order to identify and estimate the abundance of potential prey items for the whales in the four sub-areas. Krill (Thysanoessa
sp. and Meganyctphanes norvegica) dominated the diet in all but one sub-area although pelagic fish such as capelin and herring also
contributed significantly. The minke whales displayed monophagus feeding in all sub-areas investigated, including the medium-scale area
resulting from pooling of all sub-areas. The small-scale resource surveys revealed significant variations in absolute and relative prey
abundance between sub-areas, while the temporal (1-7 days) variations in relative prey biomass within sub-areas appeared to be less
significant for all prey items, except herring (Clupea harengus) and perhaps capelin (Mallotus villosus). Krill was by far the most important
prey item available in all areas, followed by either herring, cod (Gadus morhua) or saithe (Pollachius virens), depending on sub-area and
survey. Although minke whale prey preference appeared to vary greatly in space, some new features of minke whale foraging behaviour
were evident. Minke whales showed a strong preference for capelin, whereas gadoids (cod, haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) and
saithe) appeared to be avoided by the whales. Krill appeared to have been either avoided, fed upon randomly or were the preferred prey
depending on sub-area and analyses level.