Southern right whale

Eubalaena australis

Little is known about the whales that pass by Tristan so an underwater acoustics project is used to hear these whales and understand what they are doing in our waters.

Southern right whale © Michaël Catanzariti
Southern right whale © Michaël Catanzariti

The Southern Right Whale is the sometimes seen from the shores of Tristan due to its dives being shallow and short which makes them easier to spot offshore. It is thought that the waters off Tristan are a right whale nursery area as most of the whales hunted in the “Tristan grounds” during the 1800’s were mothers with calves. It’s known for being very social with other whales and is very inquisitive approaching boats and vessels to observe them. Compared to other whales the head is considerably large encircling over a quarter of their body, its easily identified by its lack of dorsal fin and the amount of callouses and callosities (hardened skin) on their head and upper body.

IUCN Status – Least concern

Length – Up to 18m

Weight – Up to 60 tons

Reproduction – Every 3-4 years

Sightings around Tristan islands – sometimes seen from the shores of Tristan

Marine life on Tristan

The waters surrounding the Tristan islands are home to a diverse range of fish and invertebrates, including the commercially valuable crayfish.