Wildlife - Harbour Porpoise

Harbour Porpoise - Phocoena phocoena

Harbour porpoises are one of two species of porpoises that we can encounter in near coastal waters. Like their name suggests, they prefer inshore habitats and estuaries, thus making them the most viewed porpoise specie by whale watchers.


With a dark gray back and light gray underside, harbour porpoises are easily mistaken for dolphins. However, at only 4.6-6.2ft in length and weighing 134 – 168 lbs, they are much smaller than dolphins and most other porpoises. They are known to be very shy but It is common to view them feeding in upwell areas, where the currents mix together and attract various small fish.


The largest threat to our local population of harbour porpoises is static fishing techniques such as gill and tangle nets. Porpoises can easily become entangled in these nets that are anchored at the bottom and then die as bycatch. To ensure you are not eating any seafood that creates by catch, double check that you are eating only sustainable seafood! Download the Oceanwise or Seachoice App to make smarter seafood choices.