A humpback breaches.

Photo Credit: Canva

Humpbacks are on a Comeback

But more traffic means more accidents

After being hunted nearly to extinction, conservation efforts are showing big results

Humpback whales have made a lot of local news this year.

Unfortunately, many of these stories were about deaths due to boat accidents.

But we’re here with some good news.

While boat collisions have been happening more this year, its in part because there are a lot more whales in our waters for them to bump into.

Researchers have been watching from the sidelines and cheering as humpback whales have made the comeback of the century.

“The Salish Sea has become the whale equivalent of a busy school zone,” said Lisa Spaven for Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s CeMoRe program to Comox Valley Now.

A humpback whale breaches in front of a large vessel. Photo from OceanWise.

Numbers have risen by over a hundred whales in the last five years.

There are now 396 Humpbacks hanging out in the Salish Sea.

“There seems to be a public misconception that humpbacks simply migrate through this area…It is the same whales year after year who we see socializing, feeding, and resting,” said Project lead for Humpback Whales of the Salish Sea Tasli Shaw to Comox Valley Now.

One whale called “Monarch” is an example noted in the report. Monarch has been coming to the area for 20 years in a row to get some grub.

“The Salish Sea is a place where many humpback whales have learned to find food and how best to capture it,” said Shaw.

This means the time they spend in our waters is most entirely focused on eating, and they’re not looking out for ships.

Because they’re not just passing through, the Salish Sea has year-round overlap between whales and both commercial and recreational vessel traffic and fishing vessels.

Humpbacks don’t have biosonar like many toothed whales do, which is why they’re more prone to being hit in busy “school zones.”

While its great that these whales are thriving, it’s even more important to slow down and keep a distance.

If you see a blow, go slow!