Yes, whales do eat baitfish, however it depends on both the whale and the baitfish. For example, dolphins will eat ballyhoo, but the Atlantic Croaker doesn’t have any predators that are whales.
most eat krill
It appears that not all whales would eat bait fish. Toothed whales, such as orcas and pilot whales, would certainly eat bait fish in addition to squid and other marine mammals. However, baleen whales utilize a comblike structure in their mouths called a baleen in order to filter out small creatures from the ocean around them and sediments on the ocean floor. These types of whales include blue whales, right whales, and minke whales. They are known to eat krill, copepods, plankton, and small fish. I suspect most adult bait fish are not small enough to fit through these whales’ baleen, and as such, these types of whales would only eat bait fish if the fish were immature enough.
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