Ecosystem overviews

Faroes Ecoregion: Marine mammals

​Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) is the only seal species breeding in the Faroes Islands. No regular monitoring exists, but a recent coastal summer census counted around 700 individuals (as a minimum). Harp seals (Pagophilus groenlandicus), hooded seals (Cystophora cristata), and bearded seals (Erignathus barbatus) are infrequent visitors to the Faroes ecoregion.

At least 24 whale species have been observed in the waters around the ecoregion.

The most abundant whale species in the ecoregion is the long-finned pilot whale, followed by Atlantic white-sided dolphin, harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), minke whale, and northern bottlenose whale (Hyperoodon ampullatus). Harbour porpoise is the only cetacean species resident year-round in the entire ecoregion, while pilot whales, white-sided dolphins, and bottlenose whales reside in the deeper waters of the ecoregion throughout the year.

Summer marine mammal surveys since 1987 show that all the baleen whale species have increased in abundance in the ecoregion, while there is no clear trend for the toothed whales.

Beach strandings of northern bottlenose whales occur regularly and are also recorded in the statistics.

ICES considers that among the marine mammals of conservation concern at potential risk of bycatch impact are killer whales (Orcinus orca), the rare sei whale (Balaenoptera borealis), and blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus).

​​​Current threats to marine mammals in the Faroes ecoregion are low and related to the potential risk of incidental bycatch and noise associated with fishing together with contaminants accumulated from global sources.

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Faroes Ecoregion: Marine mammals

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
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