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Bounty of Blue Whales

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Whale Watching

Thursday, May 24, 2018

James S.

Blue whale left dorsal side and fin - popup
Blue whale left dorsal side and fin Jackie Olvera, Aquarium of the Pacific

Almost every day for the past week we have been spotting blue whales from Point Vicente and Redondo Canyon to the canyons off of Point Fermin. Last year we had a decent May and June for blue whale sightings and then into what would normally be our busiest blue whale months the sightings became very infrequent. According John Calambokidis of Cascadia Research Collective they blues had expanded their summer feeding range in California. Which is why Monterrey Bay had so many sightings, more than they normally would, and we had fewer sightings and individuals than we normally would. Keep your fingers crossed that there is more food in the area this year to lure the largest animal alive to our local waters.

California blue whales have been tracked to winter off of Mexico and Costa Rica in waters we know the whales move to but scientists have yet to witness where blue whale calves are born. So much is being learned about this species and their sub populations that what we know about these animals will be changing regularly in the years to come. There was a paper this month about the a newly described resident population of pygmy blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) using methods we do here at the Aquarium and technologies that we don’t have but are standard in the industry for finding and identifying individuals. Understanding the migrations or residencies of whales, especially in busy port areas, is incredibly important to make sure our conservation efforts and legislation to protect these beautiful animals stays up to date with the science, along with continually learning more about our aquatic ecosystems and the urban ocean environment.

Next week we’ll have some of our new interns starting, if you’re out on the boat make sure to say hi and ask them about our photo ID program. Even if you’ve just been out on the whale watch, it’s always great to get back out there and explore our local waters with Harbor Breeze Cruises and our naturalists from the Aquarium of the Pacific. Follow the link to purchase your combo ticket to the Aquarium and Harbor Breeze, we’re open 9-6pm with whale watches running at 12 and 3pm from the dock right outside the building. Blue whales are common in our summer season along with fin whales, humpback whales, bottlenose and common dolphins, ocean sunfish, and many more species. Come on down to Long Beach and check it out.

See you on the water!