Balenottera comune (Balaenoptera physalus)
Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure

Escursioni nel Santuario dei Cetacei in Liguria | Whalewatching nel Mediterraneo | Birdwatching nel Golfo Ligure Balenottera comune (Balaenoptera physalus)

Balenottera comune (Balaenoptera physalus)

The Fin whale is one of the largest animals known: the female, always slightly larger, can reach 27 m in length and weigh 80 tons. The fin whale is a predominantly pelagic cetacean, i.e. it lives in the open sea, far from the coast, in deep water. In the Mediterranean it is observed more abundantly in the central and western basins, particularly in the western Ligurian Sea.

Fin whales are the fastest of the large baleen whales, considering that on some occasions they can reach and exceed 20 knots (37 km/h). Rarely is it possible to see a whale jump almost completely out of the water.

A characteristic that makes this animal unmistakable is that of having the color of the asymmetrical jaw: the left side is dark, while the right side is white.

The fin whale needs a huge energy requirement, about 330 tons of food per year, which is rapidly stored during the feeding season, as subcutaneous fat. The hunting strategies do not involve group collaborations, nor particular techniques for concentrating the prey. The cetacean tends to quickly approach the school of fish keeping its mouth wide open, so as to increase the capacity of the throat region, then with its tongue it presses and releases the water, while the preys are held by the long baleen (they can reach 90 cm long).

The whale’s spray is usually high and upright, it can be visible even at great distances.

Sightings of fin whales carried out by the boats of the Liguria Via Mare Consortium:

2023: 64 fin whales sighted in 82 outings

2022: 22 fin whales sighted in 77 outings

2021: fin whales sighted in 55 outings

2020: 15 fin whales sighted in 35 outings 

2019: 1 fin whale sighted in 33 outings

2018: 16 fin whales sighted in 50 outings

2017: 9 fin whales sighted in 39 outings

2016: No fin whales sighted in 53 outings

2015: 6 fin whales sighted in 43 outings

2014: 15 fin whales sighted in 48 outings

2013: 25 fin whales sighted in 55 outings

2012: 20 fin whales sighted in 47 outings

2011 (data referring to the April-June period only): 6 fin whales sighted in 20 outings

2010: 36 fin whales sighted in 83 outings

To view the complete list of sightings click here.


See photos of fin whales spotted on our outings.