ADVERTISING


NOAA: Humpback whale season in Hawaii underway

  • Special to West Hawaii Today While some whales have already arrived, the majority will be in Hawaii between January and March.

Humpback whale season in Hawaii is underway.

Each winter and spring, approximately half of the North Pacific humpback whales, representing thousands of animals, journey to the Hawaiian Islands, including sanctuary waters, to breed, give birth, and nurse their young, NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said Tuesday. While some whales have already arrived, the majority will be in Hawaii between January and March.

ADVERTISING


Humpback whales in Hawaii are protected by state and federal agencies. Approaching humpback whales when on or in the water within 100 yards or within 1,000 feet by air (including drones) can impact the animals and is illegal.

“Collisions between whales and vessels occur annually, presenting serious risks to boaters as well as the whales,” said Ed Lyman, natural resource specialist for the sanctuary. “Whale calves are particularly vulnerable because they are difficult to see and surface more often.”

NOAA recommends remaining vigilant and going a slow, safe speed based on conditions, vessel type, and other factors that affect detection and avoidance in areas where whales may be present.

Humpback whales can also get entangled in fishing gear, which can result in starvation, physical trauma and infections, and may contribute to vessel strikes since the animals are less mobile.

ADVERTISING


If you see an injured or entangled marine mammal, keep a safe and legal distance and call NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at (888) 256-9840 or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately. To report a vessel coming too close to a whale, call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at (800) 853-1964 or email respectwildlife@noaa.gov.

For more information, visit www.hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/visit/recreation.html.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiwarriorworld@staradvertiser.com.