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Breaching Humpback Whale

Endangered Humpback Whales
Whale Watching in Hawaii
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Facts about Humpback Whales
Oahu Whale Watching
Facts Humpback Whales
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Select Facts About Whales

Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Oahu Whale Watching Hawaii

How can I identify a
Humpback Whale in Hawaii?


Humpback Whales in Hawaii
Breeding and Birthing


How big is a Humpback Whale?

Humpback Whales in Hawaii on a Diet

Humpback Whale Behaviors

Endangered Humpback Whales
in Hawaii


How long do Humpback Whales live? How do Humpback Whales die?

Where to find
Humpback Whales on Oahu


Humpback Whale
References and Links



Endangered Humpback Whales in Hawaii

Humpback whales, dolphins and seals are protected by NOAA Fisheries Service under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 (MMPA). Humpback whales, sperm whales, monk seals and sea turtles are further protected by NOAA Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA) and by the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources under Hawai‘i State Law. NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary regulations provide additional protection for humpback whales and their habitat in Hawai‘i. The recommended guidelines presented here do not replace federal or state law.

It is interesting to note that even though I spent much of my time sailing, fishing ,surfing and swimming in Hawaii's waters since 1964, I saw my first humpback whale in 1983.

According to CascadiaResearch.org, the post-whaling population (1966) size has been reported from 1,200 to 1,400 individuals (Gambell 1975; Johnson and Wolman 1984), though the techniques used to produce these estimates were extremely imprecise (Calambokidis et al. 1997). Estimates from the late 1970s and early 1980s for portions of the North Pacific ranged from about 1,000-2,000 individuals (Darling and Morowitz 1986; Baker and Herman 1987). Calambokidi et al. (1997) produced the most recent estimate for the North Pacific (from 1992-1993) of 6,010 animals (SE = 474). They discuss a number of directional biases that should be taken into account, which suggest that the estimate of about 6,000 animals underestimates the true abundance (which might be closer to 8,000 individuals). Based on photo-identification results, population estimates for humpbacks off California have increased at an average annual rate of 8% between 1988 and 1998 (Calambokidis et al. 1999). Off Hawaii, based on aerial survey results from 1977-80 and from 1990, Mobley et al. (1999a) show evidence of a local increase in numbers on the Hawaiian wintering grounds (see also Cerchio 1998). Aerial surveys in Hawaii in 1993, 1995 and 1998 show further evidence of an increase in numbers, at an annual rate of 7% (Mobley et al. 1999b).

How long do Humpback Whales live?
How do Humpback Whales die?

Because baleen whales lack teeth, which are often one of the best ways to tell the age of an animal, it is difficult to tell. Humpback whales are believed to live as long as 80 years. Humpback whales are sometimes preyed upon by killer whales. Pods of killer whales have been observed attacking humpback whales, especially targeting young humpback whales during migration. Commercial hunting of humpback whales for oil, meat, and the baleen for apparel materials (corset stays, umbrella ribs, buggy whips etc.) took place from the 17th to early 20th centuries. Indigenous hunters still practice subsistence whaling on a small-scale and the Japanese and some other countries still kill whales under the guise of scientific research. Whales can be tangled in netting and fishing gear and struck by ocean vessels. The effects of pollution on Humpback whales is unknown and may be harmful.

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