Estimated food consumption of minke whales Balaenoptera acutorostrata in Northeast Atlantic waters in 1992-1995
Data on energy requirements, diet composition, and stock size were combined to estimate the consumption of various prey species by minke whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) in Northeast Atlantic waters. In the period 1992-1995, the stock of 85,000 minke whales appeared to have consumed more than 1.8 million tonnes of prey per year in coastal waters off northern Norway, in the Barents Sea and around Spitsbergen during an assumed 6 month stay between mid-April and mid-October.
Uncertainties in stock estimates suggest a 95% confidence range of 1.4 - 2.1 million tonnes. The point estimate was composed of 602,000 tonnes of krill Thysanoessa spp., 633,000 tonnes of herring Clupea harengus, 142,000 tonnes of capelin Mallotus villosus, 256,000 tonnes of cod Gadus morhua, 128,000 tonnes of haddock Melanogrammus aeglefinus and 54,500 tonnes of other fish species, including saithe Pollaehius virens and sand eel Ammodytes sp. Consumption of various prey items by minke whales may represent an important mortality factor for some of the species. For example, the estimated annual consumption of herring corresponds to about 70% of the herring fisheries in the Northeast Atlantic in 1995. Minke whale diets are subject to year-to-year variations due to changes in the resource base in different feeding areas. Thus, the regional distribution of consumption of different prey items is highly dynamic.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (SeeThe Effect of Open Access).