Minke whales (pronounced Minky) are the smallest
of the rorqual whales. There are distinct northern hemisphere
and southern hemisphere sub-species, with the northern subspecies
being slightly smaller than the southern subspecies.
As the smallest rorquals, minkes were the
last to be exploited by whalers when the larger animals had
been reduced to a level where they were no longer able to be
profitably exploited, so the minkes were targeted as the species
of last choice.
Minkes are fast swimming - over 20 kph, meaning
that they were difficult to catch too as well as being a relatively
Minkes are still hunted for "scientific"
reasons by Japan, though large quantities of the meat turns
up in very expensive restaurants.
rorquals, minkes migrate to tropical or warm temperate waters
in the winter months and spend the summer months at higher latitudes
in polar waters where the long day length leads to algal
blooms in the sea and associated increases in plankton
and fish stocks means good a feeding time.
Minke whales are generally solitary
animals or they are seen in pairs or threes. Larger groups are
sometimes found in high latitudes in both hemispheres and groups
may number 10 to 15 individuals. Minkes often approach boats,
especially when stationary, and are notoriously inquisitive,
as such they are more likely to be seen closely than other