Fin whalesIn late May 2013 a German yachtsman spotted 6 to 8 fin whales about 10 nautical miles north of Vis island.

For over 11 years, GRD and its partners from Zagreb University have called on tourists and locals to report their sightings of whale and dolphins in the Croatian part of the Adriatic Sea. But never before did we get such a spectacular sighting:

A German yachtsman spotted 6 to 8 fin whales: "I saw two groups of three to four whales. The distance between them was big enough for me to be sure that these were two groups." The Croatian media had already reported about a 16 m fin whale in approximately the same region off Split in late April

Growing up to 26 meters in length and weighing between 45 and 75 tons, fin whales (Balaenoptera physalus) are the second largest animals on earth, after the blue whale. They are the only rorquals to be frequently found in the Mediterranean. Occasionally they enter Croatian waters.

"But we have never had a report about such a large group ever since we started our joint reporting scheme on the distribution of whales and dolphins in the Croatian part of the Mediterranean Sea 11 years ago," says Martina Duras-Gomercic, a veterinarian at Zagreb University and project member.

The baleen whales probably venture into the Adriatic sea because of nutritious water currents. The first time the occasional presence of fin whales was registered in the Adriatic Sea was in the early 18 th century.
Ulrike Kirsch

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