The number of fin whales and humpback whales in the North Atlantic has increased, while the number of minke whales in inshore areas has gone down.
This is a development seen during the last twenty-or-so years of marine research institute whale counts, the most recent of which ended last week, on August 10.
The Marine Research Institute of Iceland counted whales in co-operation with partner organizations in neighboring countries under the auspices of NAMMCO, the North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.
Counts of this type were conducted in 1987, 1989, 1995, 2001, 2007 and 2015.
The counting area reaches from western Greenland, around Iceland, and to Norway—covering the majority of the summer territories of the major whale species in the mid and northeast Atlantic, RÚV reported.
The goal of the counts is to establish how numerous the main species of great whales are in the region. The Marine Research Institute of Iceland states that the counts show a very significant change in the number and area of whale populations over the last 20 years.
The number of fin whales has increased markedly; especially to the west of Iceland. On the other hand, the number of minke whales in shallower waters has dropped considerably since 2001. At the same time, there has been a large increase in the number of humpback whales around Iceland.
The most recent whale count around Iceland recorded 14 different species of whales: blue whale, fin whale, sei whale, minke whale, humpback whale, sperm whale, bottlenose whale, killer whale, pilot whale, Atlantic white sided dolphin, White beaked dolphin, striped dolphin, Sowerbury’s beaked whale, and porpoise.