Scientific Name: Balaenoptera physalus
Malti: Il-balena il-kbira
The fin whale is the second largest animal on earth, only second to the Blue whale, growing up to 26m and weighing 74 tonnes. It can be found in deep waters of 400-2,500 m offshore of the continental shelf edge, usually looking for areas with high zooplankton concentrations.
Mediterranean fin whales face a number of threats, including collisions with vessels, chemical and acoustic pollution, entanglement in fishing gear and disturbance by boats. Collision events are common in Mediterranean waters and may represent a major cause of non-natural mortality for fin whales. In fact, fin whales are the species most commonly struck by vessels worldwide.
While the fin whale is the most common large whale species in the Mediterranean Sea, no population estimates exist for the entire region. Line-transect surveys in 1991 and 1992 yielded fin whale population sizes in excess of 3,500 individuals over a large portion of the western Mediterranean, and of about 900 individuals in the Corsican-Ligurian-Provençal basin. However globally there is a population estimate of around 100,000. They are listed as an endangered species.