Cook Inlet Beluga Whales and Bering Sea Beluga Whales
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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Beluga Whales in Alaska

Information about Beaufort Sea, Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet, Eastern Bering Sea, and Eastern Chukchi Sea beluga whale stocks.

Conferences and Workshops

  • NMFS-sponsored Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Science Conferences:
  • NMFS-sponsored Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Workshops
    • Potential for a Cook Inlet Beluga Whale Biopsy Program (2014): Report
    • Conservation and Recovery of CI Belugas in the Context of Continued Development (2014): Agenda


About Beluga Whales

beluga whales in Beaufort Sea ice
Beluga whales in the Beaufort Sea. Photo: NOAA Fisheries, NMML

At birth, beluga whales are dark blue-gray in color, measure 3-5 feet long, and weigh 90-130 lbs. The color gradually lightens, usually turning white by age 5 or 6. Beluga whales grow to an average length of 15 ft. and can weigh more than 3,000 lbs. Generally, males are larger in size than females. Belugas are robust-bodied and have a blubber layer which can be as much as 5 inches thick. They are muscular creatures with a small rounded head, a short beak, and are quite mobile in comparison to other whales. The belugas have a narrow ridge that runs down the rear of their backs, which allows them to swim freely under floating ice. Also, the beluga is the only whale that can bend its neck. This helps them to maneuver easily and catch prey, using their 34 to 40 teeth, not for chewing, but for grabbing and tearing their prey, which is then swallowed whole. Belugas use sound to find their prey. They also use sound to communicate and navigate by producing a variety of clicks, chirps and whistles.   More >>>

Contact Information

Barbara Mahoney
Marine mammal strandings, co-management, Cook Inlet beluga whales
(907) 271-3448

Mandy Migura
Cook Inlet beluga whales, marine mammal strandings
(907) 271-1332

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