Harbour porpoise in the Irish sea

Harbour porpoise

Harbour porpoises are the smallest and most common cetaceans in European waters. They are also one of the shortest lived, rarely surviving beyond 12 years of age. Harbour porpoises favour the shallow waters of coasts and estuaries and it is not uncommon for them to travel a considerable distance up river. Being social by nature, these porpoises travel and patrol for fish in small schools of around 12 individuals. Although they don't ever clear the water, they do break the surface in a smooth black arc, often making a loud noise as they blow.

Scientific name: Phocoena phocoena

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common porpoise,
  • Harbor porpoise,
  • Puffing pigs


The Harbour porpoise can be found in a number of locations including: United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Harbour porpoise distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Unknown

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Harbour porpoise

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