Annual humpback whale count completed

More than 380 volunteers gathered data from the shores of Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai during the final count of the 2017 Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.

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More than 380 volunteers gathered data from the shores of Hawaii Island, Oahu and Kauai during the final count of the 2017 Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Ocean Count.

Ocean Count serves to promote public awareness about humpback whales, the sanctuary and shore-based whale-watching opportunities. The count is conducted three times per year during the peak whale season and provides a snapshot of humpback whales sightings from the shoreline. Participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behaviors during the survey.

Volunteers collected data from 48 sites statewide March 25. A total of 85 whale sightings were recorded during the 8:30 a.m.-8:45 a.m. time period, the most of any time period during the day’s count.

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More than 1,500 volunteers participated during the three Ocean Count days. Volunteers also were able to educate more than 1,700 members of the public who stopped by for more information during the counts.

The sanctuary, administered by a partnership of NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the state through the Department of Land and Natural Resources, protects humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters where they migrate each winter to mate, calve and nurse their young.

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