Last autumn the Marine Research Institute of Iceland started an experimentation of marking whales with satellite senders that send signals of their route around Iceland. The aim of the experiment is to map their migration route around the island and map their departing points of Icelandic waters.

From 4th to 7th of November, four of those satellite senders were pinned to two humpback whales and two minke whales just north of Iceland. To mark the whales, a special air gun was used and a small research boat. Usable signals were received from both of the humpback whales, but none from the minke whales.

Below you can see a map with the migration of one of the humpback whales. Its journey starts in the North of Iceland and the last signals received by the whale were at the south coast of Iceland, a trip that the whale made in a week or so.


The interesting thing is that the whale stayed for a while in a location south-west of Iceland. Therefore some speculations were made that the whale had found some kind of feed. Based on those speculations, some herring fishing vessels went to the same location as the whale and gave the area a try. After some few tosses of the fishing equipment they found considerable amount of herring. So by observing the behavior of the whale, the fishing vessels were able to locate their catch.

satellite sender device

In a capelin research expedition by the Marine Research Institute of Iceland that is now going on, two humpback whales were pinned with two satellites senders at the east coast of Iceland. Already some signals have been received by one of those humpback whales that were marked 1st of February this year. It is possible to follow the migration of one of the humpback whale at the Marine Research Institute of Iceland website, to see the whale´s migration pattern, click here.


Who knows if those two humpback whales that were marked in the capelin research expedition will lead the way to large shoal of capelin for Icelandic fishermen to catch?

All information and photos are from the the Marine Research Institute of Iceland website,

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