The Sei Whale, Balaenoptera borealis, is a baleen whale, the
third-largest rorqual after the Blue Whale and the Fin Whale. It can be found
worldwide in all oceans and adjoining seas, and prefers deep off-shore waters.
It tends to avoid polar and tropical waters and semi-enclosed bodies of water.
The Sei Whale migrates annually from cool and subpolar waters in summer to
temperate and subtropical waters for winter, although in most areas the exact
migration routes are not well known.
Reaching a length of up to 20 metres (66 ft) long and weighing as much as 45
tonnes (50 tons), the Sei Whale consumes an average of 900 kilograms (2,000 lb)
of food each day, primarily copepods and krill, and other zooplankton. It is
among the fastest of all cetaceans, and can reach speeds of up to 50 kilometres
per hour (31 mph, 27 knots) over short distances. The whale's name comes from
the Norwegian word for pollock, a fish that appears off the coast of Norway at
the same time of the year as the Sei Whale.
Following large-scale commercial hunting of the species between the
late-nineteenth and late-twentieth centuries when over 238,000 individuals were
taken, the Sei Whale is now an internationally protected species, although
limited hunting still occurs under controversial research programmes conducted
by Iceland and Japan. As of 2006, the worldwide population of the Sei Whale was
about 54,000, about a fifth of its pre-whaling population. --
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