Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Harbour Porpoise

Harbour Porpoise

Phocoena phocoena. The Harbour Porpoise is one of the smallest cetaceans, averaging around 2 m in length. It is a shy species that is relatively short-lived (usually less than 20 years). They are grayish-white along their sides, fading to almost white on the underside. They have a small triangular dorsal fin about midway on their backs. Harbour Porpoises are usually found in small groups over continental shelves, frequenting harbours. They feed mainly on small fish and squid, including hake, herring, sandlance, capelin and cod. These animals are very sensitive to human disturbance, including continued development and use of their main habitat by humans. Underwater noise pollution can result in loss of habitat and displacement of porpoises. Contaminants in the food chain are also a threat. A primary threat is by-catch, where many animals are being caught and killed in bottom-set gill nets.

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