Fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) COSEWIC assessment and status report: chapter 10

Special Significance of the Species

The second longest animal on Earth, and perhaps the fastest of all marine mammals, the fin whale was the mainstay of both the Antarctic and Pacific whale fisheries after the over-exploitation of blue and humpback populations.

Fin whales are the focus of whale watching excursions in many areas throughout Atlantic Canada, particularly in the lower Bay of Fundy and the St. Lawrence estuary. The species is not regularly targeted by the commercial whale watching industry in British Columbia.

Extensive archeological investigations of middens, using genetic techniques, are being carried out at Ozette in Washington State and at Barkley Sound on southern Vancouver Island. Humpback and grey whales dominate the remains at both sites. Fin whales represent less than 1% of the remains at Ozette, and have not been found at Barkley Sound (Alan D. McMillan, personal communication. Department of Anthropology, Douglas College, P.O. Box 2503, New Westminster, BC, V3L 5B2). The Marine Mammal SSC had no information to suggest that the fin whale has played a major role in any Native culture or economy in Canada.

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