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harbor porpoise

Harbor Porpoises Catching and Handling Large Fish

Harbor Porpoises (Phocoena phocoena vomerina) Catching and Handling Large Fish on the U.S. West Coast
  • Behavior


This short note provides unique insights into previously undocumented harbor porpoise behavior and diet. We document the addition of two new species as harbor porpoise prey items along the U.S. West Coast (pink salmon and American shad) and one in the Salish Sea (coho salmon, salmonid so). Little research on this species has focused beyond group size, population abundance/distribution, presence/absence in relation to use of specific habitats (Elliser et al., 2018), and mating behavior (Keener et al., 2018); thus, wild harbor porpoise behavior remains poorly understood. Reports such as this are important to improve our knowledge of this difficult to observe species and highlight the need for further research and monitoring to fully understand their behavioral repertoire and ecological relationships.

Elliser, C.R., Hessing, S., MacIver, K. H., Webber, M. A., Keener, W., 2020. Harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena vomerina) catching and handling large fish on the U.S. West Coast. Aquatic Mammals, 46(2):191-199.

Marc Webber
Bill Keener

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