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For the past two years, the Icelandic Marine Research Institute has been conducting experiments by tagging whales dwelling on Icelandic waters with satellite senders to track theirblue whale migration route around the island and map their departing points of Icelandic waters.

In the fall 2008 four whales, two Minke Whales and two Humpback Whales, were marked by shooting them with a special air gun developed for this purpose especially. In February 2009 another two Humpbacks were tagged and finally in June this summer one more Humpback and a Blue Whale were tagged.

This is a first time that the migration pattern of a Blue whale has been tracked and thus very important and interesting information for both the public and the research community. The Blue Whale was marked in Skjálfandi bay in northern Iceland in June 23 and has since travelled almost 8000km from north-coast of Iceland to the southeast coast, visiting west-coast Greenland on its way.

Blue whaleThe travelling pattern of the Blue Whale is characterized by rapid sprints, while it can dwell in restricted areas for several days, most likely for food gathering.

The migration of Blue Whales to south is soon getting started and the research institution hopes that the senders will continue to send signals through that period giving them thus valuable information on the migration pattern itself and a hint of their hibernation.

It is possible to follow the Blue Whale's migration pattern HERE.

Further information can be found on the Icelandic Marine Research Institute’s website, and other Arctic Portal features