Researchers are alarmed by the increasing number of humpback whales being struck by vessels off the coast of British Columbia. At least eight whale strikes have occurred between July 20 and August 11, including humpbacks near Tofino and Campbell River. Three of the collisions involved a B.C. Ferries vessel, a large catamaran ferry, and a cruise ship. The identities and conditions of six of the whales are unknown, except for one named Harlequin, which was struck by a pleasure boat near Campbell River. The incident was captured on video and shared on social media to raise awareness about the risks of collisions with whales and the need for boater education and safety measures.
The collisions have occurred in an area known to have several humpbacks feeding on krill and small fish as they prepare to migrate back to Mexico. The researchers emphasize the importance of education for vessel operators to watch for signs of whale presence, such as blows and birds on the water, and to be aware of known humpback travel and feeding areas. They also call for the implementation of slowdown zones in humpback habitats during certain times of the year. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has not yet provided information or shared any data on the incidents with the researchers.
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