In the eastern North Pacific Ocean, the harbor porpoise ranges from Point Barrow, along the Alaska coast, and down the west coast of North America to Point Conception, California. They are found primarily in coastal waters and occur most frequently in waters less than 100 m in depth. They are widely distributed and locally abundant. Harbor porpoise are small, most under 2 m in length and 90 kg in weight. They are most often seen singly, in pairs, or groups of up to 10, although there are reports of aggregations of up to 200 harbor porpoise. Most seasonal movements appear to be inshore-offshore and may be influenced by prey availability or the presence of ice-free waters. They are non-descript in coloration and behavior; they infrequently breach or porpoise clear of the water. Unlike most other porpoises, they do not approach boats to bow ride. Little is known of their reproductive biology: most mating occurs in summer; the gestation period is about 11 months; most births occur between May and July.
- HOBBS, R. C., and J. M. WAITE. 2010. Abundance of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in three Alaskan regions, corrected for observer errors due to perception bias and species misidentification,and corrected for animals submerged from view. Fish. Bull., U.S. 108:251-267. (.pdf, 1.35 MB). Online.
- DAHLHEIM, M., A. YORK, R. TOWELL, J. WAITE, and J. BREIWICK.
2000. Harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) abundance in Alaska: Bristol Bay to southeast Alaska, 1991-1993. Mar. Mammal Sci. 16:28-45.
- LAAKE, J., D. RUGH, and L. BARAFF.
1998. Observations of harbor porpoise in the vicinity of acoustic alarms on a set gill net. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-84, 40 p. (.pdf, 504kb) Online.
- OSMEK, S., J. CALAMBOKIDIS, J. LAAKE, P. GEARIN, R. DeLONG, J. SCORDINO, S. JEFFRIES, and R. BROWN.
1997. Assessment of the status of harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in Oregon and Washington waters, 46 p. U.S. Dep. Commer., NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-AFSC-76. (.pdf, 1.18mb) Online.
- Search the AFSC database for additional Harbor Porpoise publications
- Population Declines of Harbor Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) in Inside Waters of Southeast Alaska
2.62 MB Online.
- Search the AFSC database for additional Harbor Porpoise posters
- Bering Sea: 2006 2003 2000 1997
- Central California (split into Monterey Bay stock and Morro Bay stock in 2002): 2001 2000 1999
- Gulf of Alaska: 2006 2003 2000 1997
- Gulf of Maine-Bay of Fundy: 2006 2005 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 1997 1995
- Inland WA: 2006 2003 2002 2000 1999 1998
- Monterey Bay: 2004 2003 2002
- Morro Bay: 2004 2003 2002
- Northern California-Southern Oregon, formerly Northern California: 2002 2001 2000 1999
- Oregon-Washington Coastal: 2006 2003 2002 2000 1999 1998
- San Francisco-Russian River: 2004 2003 2002
- Southeast Alaska: 2006 2003 2000 1997
- Currently unavailable