The 2024 deployment of the V0c MINTAG prototype has started!

Follow the MINTAG 2024 teams on their journeys with our Steering Group members deploying them on minke and fin whales in the North Atlantic and Pacific.

You can read about the 2023 MINTAG deployments here.

About tags and satellites

When tags have been deployed, it takes a few passes for the satellites to correctly estimate the location since it is based on at least 2 uplinks during a single satellite pass.  Therefore,  the first location can be depicted wrong, even though the system actually did come up with a location close to the deployment location, but it is incorrectly placed in the database.  The satellites can often find multiple solutions depending upon how many uplinks they receive. Usually, the coordinates are correct after a few passes.

Deployment of 30 V0c tags - 2024

During the summer of 2023, 19 minke, fin, humpback and killer whales were tagged with V0b fin and minke whale tags  in the North Atlantic and North Pacific by four different groups. You can read more about their journeys here.

Over the course of the summer 2024, Iceland, Japan and Norway will deploy V0c tags on fin and minke whales and you will find here information on who is deploying the tags, in which areas they are deploying them and updates from the researchers themselves.

Follow the MINTAG on its second test run! 

Team Norway, 19.06.2024-08.08.2024
Team Iceland, 15.08.2024-15.09.2024
Team Japan, 02.08.2024-30.09.2024

Norway: 10 Vc0 tags - Northern Norway, Svalbard and the Barents Sea

From June to July 2024, Team Noway will be deploying the first 10 V0c tags on minke and fin whales. The initial tags have already been successfully deployed, with more tags scheduled for deployment during the upcoming cruise, led by Steering Group member Martin Biuw, starting on June 19th. Stay tuned for further updates!

Deployment of 25 V0b tags - 2023

During the summer of 2023, 10 minke whale tags and 15 fin whale tags of the V0b generation will be deployed in the North Atlantic and North Pacific by four different groups.

Over the course of the summer, you will find here information on who is deploying the tags, in which areas they are deploying them and updates from the researchers themselves.

Follow the MINTAG on its first test run! 

Team Japan, 05.06-16.06.23
Team Greenland, 08.08-17.08.23
Team Norway, August-November 2023

Japan: fin whale tags, Sea of Okhotsk

On the 5th of June 2023, Japan started as the first country to test five V0b fin whale tags. Steering Group member Kenji Konishi and his team went to the southern Sea of Okhotsk off Hokkaido to tag the whales on board of vessel Chipashiri. Two out of the five that were deployed transmitted location data.

Vessel Chipashiri:

07.06.2023: First deployment of fin whale tags

Kenji: Weather condition was good. We departed from Abashiri port at 06:00. Fin whales were not found in the area near shore, but several fin whales were found after two hours of searching. We deployed three MINTAGs and sampled skin tissue sample from one of the fin whales.

08.06.2023: Second day of deployment

Kenji: Weather condition was super good when we departed from the port at 05:50. We could find fin whales earlier than during the survey on the 7th. We also found many Dall’s porpoises, bird’s beaked whales and shearwaters. We found four whales and deployed a MINTAG on a fin whale, but the weather turned too foggy and we lost visibility. We drifted for a while and started to search again, but we could not spot any fin whales.

16.06.2023: Last deployment

Kenji: After a week of bad and foggy weather, we finally managed to deploy the last tag!

East Greenland: fin whale tags, Angmassilik fjord

From the 8th to the 17th AugustGreenland started the second test of five V0b fin whale tags. Steering Group members Mads Peter Heide-Jörgensen and Rikke Guldborg Hansen as well as their team went to the Angmassilik fjord in East Greenland to tag fin whales.

All shots were made at distances between 8 and 15 m and four tags hit the whales while one missed and flew over. One tag transmitted locations for 17 days!

Before the trip

Why did Team Greenland choose this location?

The fjord is approximately 70 km long and 5 km wide. When you sail 50 km into the fjord you will arrive at the settlement called Kuummiut. There is a fish factory in town, a small supermarket, a school, a church and a community house and approximately 250 people call this place their home.

Listen to Rikke explaining why they chose this location:


What are the challenges of the trip?

Listen to Mads Peter explaining the challenges of the trip:


What makes the MINTAG project so exciting?

Mads Peter tells you his answer to this question here:

08.08.2023: Travels from Copenhagen to Kuummiut

Rikke: I departed from Copenhagen and arrived in Kulusuk where Siggi (owner of the chartered boat) picked me up. We proceed to Tasiilaq to pick up Ababsi and the equipment that had arrived with ship a few weeks earlier.

We sailed onward to Kuummiut and arrived at 20:30. We saw fin whales in the fjord some kilometers from shore and immediately all pre-trip worries about finding fin whales vanished. Found the community house where we had rented a room.

10.08.2023: Preparations

Rikke: Ababsi and I calibrated the sight on the crossbow. Mads Peter arrived in the morning from Tasiilaq with the satellite tags. All tags found the correct location of Kuummiut and were re-activated when dropped in saltwater. The sight on the ARTS was calibrated and test shooting with both the carrier and the new tags were carried out in the evening. We saw some humpbacks and fin whales in the fjord in the afternoon while walking in the mountains.

A humpback whale fluke peaking out of the water in a fjord in Greenland.
©Fernando Ugarte
11.08.2023: First trip

Rikke: We left Kuumiut at 3 pm to search for fin whales. We went into the fjord Ikaasak where we saw a humpback feeding on capelin close shore. We found several fin whales and observed their behavior for some hours. Our boat was to slow for approaching and the closest we got was 50m.

12.08.2023: Second trip

Rikke: We left Kuummiut at 11:15 and found a couple of fin whales in the fjord west of the town. There was also a sperm whale. We tried for 1.45 hrs to chase the whales from Siggi’s dinghy (Poca 500, 115 hp Mercury) but the whales reacted and moved quickly away so this approach was cancelled for the rest of the day.

We thereafter moved to Ikerasak where we passed a humpback whale within shooting distance while at the same time two fin whales were right behind the boat. No shooting at that opportunity. The wind was picking up and creating waves so we had to move inside the fjord where we found up to five whales in the bay opposite Kuummiut. Apparently the whales are circling around in Ammassalik fjorden and occasionally return to certain coastal areas often very close to the beach where gulf feeding intensively is practiced.  The feeding events are also obvious from the concentration of diving kittiwakes.

13.08.23 Third trip

Rikke: We left Kuummiut at 14h. We went for the coast line where the locals say fin whales feed and waited there 2 hours but only saw humpback whales. We then went to the fjord Ikaasak but no luck there either. We saw two fin whales in the main fjord and tried to hunt them down but never came within shooting distance. We then had discussions on the next step, i.e. hiring a different boat.

17.08.23 Fourth and final trip

Mads Peter: After having tried approaching the fin whales with different types of boats inshore in East Greenland we finally tried with dinghies offshore and managed to hit a fin whale with four out of five shots.

At least three of the shots seemed to penetrate and embed completely, but it was uncertain if they went too deep.

Look at the map to follow the fin whales of East Greenland!


Norway: fin and minke whale tags, Svalbard and Northern Norway

In August and September 2023, the teams led by Christian Lydersen and Martin Biuw sailed around Svalbard on an effort to tag fin and minke whales respectively. The remaining tags were used in Skjervøy to further test the tags in humpback and killer whales in November 2023, by Audun Rikardsen and his team. In the map below you can follow the three successfully tagged minke whales.