Capstone Title

Orcinus orca: "Flaccid" Fin Syndrome - Natural or Captive Phenomenon

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

First Advisor

Keith Ronald

Second Advisor

Curtis Burney

Third Advisor

Richard E. Dodge


"Flaccid" Fin Syndrome occurs in mature male Orcinus orca. It is the bending of the dorsal fin towards the side of the body. Several factors are thought to cause this phenomenon. A questionnaire was distributed via electronic mail to the scientific community to gather opinions or the cause of FFS. The causative agents were categorized. Management considerations and changes were recommended with regards to captive holding.

Captivity is not solely responsible for FFS. Other "wild" factors are also discussed in detail. A new name for the syndrome, Folded Fin Syndrome, is suggested and explained at the end of this report. Suggested management strategies for the combination of both free-living and captive orcas are discussed with recommendations for increased public awareness.

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