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The Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) is one of six species of porpoise. It is one of the smallest ocean mammals. As its name implies, it stays close to coastal areas or river estuaries and as such is the most familiar porpoise to whale watchers. This porpoise often ventures up rivers and has been seen hundreds of miles from the sea.
The species is widespread in cooler coastal waters in the Northern Hemisphere, largely in areas with a mean temperature of about 15°C.
Harbour Porpoises feed mostly on small fish, particularly herring, capelin, and sprat. The deepest dive recorded was 224 m (735 ft) deep. Young porpoises need to consume about 7% to 8% of their body weight each day in order to survive.
Harbor Porpoises were traditionally hunted for food. Currently, however, this species is not subject to commercial whaling.
Currently, the total population is in the hundreds of thousands and the Harbor Porpoise is not under threat of extinction. There are, however, a number of threats that impact population distribution and numbers including:
- Fishery Interaction
- Climate Change
- Noise Pollution
- Polluted waters