- The Harbour : Scientific name: Phocoena phocoena (Pp)
With a length of about 1.20 meters in adulthood and a weight of around 60 kg, the harbour porpoise is the smallest cetacean. It is present in the rather cold waters of the Atlantic and North Pacific, but remains visible up to the Mediterranean Sea. Sexual maturity is reached around 4 to 6 years old and groups of "mothers / cubs" are sometimes observed. Like their cousins the bottlenose dolphins, porpoises feed mainly on small fish, but cephalopods are not excluded from their diet. Besides, porpoises and bottlenose dolphins are sometimes competing on the same group of prey.
Porpoises, by their vast geographical distribution and their large number facilitating their observation, have been studied by many scientists. However, they are rather furtive and fierce animals, rather difficult to follow at sea and rather discreet: the jumps are rare and the animals remain little time on the surface.
In the Bay: groups of porpoises are observed each year at the entrance to the Arcachon Bay. However, observations within the Bay are almost non-existent. At this time, we do not know if the same animals are coming back every year. This aspect will be addressed during future research projects.
The porpoise is listed in CITES Appendix II, more information on the conservation status on the following link: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/17027/0