Protect Our Oceans

More than 2,000 humpbacks spotted off the coast of Hawaii

The first coordinated Hawaiian humpback whale watch of 2024 kicked off this month


Humpback whale breaches off the Channel Islands
Vikki Hunt |
Humpback Whale with huge pectoral fin raised, lunge-feeding in the Channel Islands National Park, Santa Barbara

In Hawaii, whale watching is a community pastime — so much so that over 400 people across the island state recently coordinated efforts to inventory humpback whales off the coast. What they saw was incredible; more than 2,000 sightings were recorded in just one day. Ocean Count and the Pacific Whale Foundation organized this count, the first of 2024, and two more are planned for this year.

In these waters, humpback whales are a big deal – the aptly-named Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is proof of that. Humpback whales enjoy the region’s warm waters and the people love the whales. The fact that over 400 people turned out to witness these majestic marine mammals illustrates how embedded into the culture and community they are. We’re working to ensure they stay that way.

Sadly, like all whales, humpbacks face numerous threats on the high seas. One of the biggest problems they endure are fishing gear/line entanglements, and officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) need to move faster to protect them. Were NOAA to spur the adoption of ropeless gear in all areas where these migrating whales get entangled, that would be a big win. We’re urging them to do so.

You can read more about this whale watch here.

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