top of page

2022 Sightings

February 2022: In early February, a fishing boat came across a group of feeding whales. Amongst the humpbacks and fin whales were two North Pacific right whales.

As far as scientists know, this is the first sighting of NPRWs in the Bering Sea in the winter, a location that is frequented by the whales in the summer. They’ve heard the whales in the area year-round, but never seen them. To get a sighting of feeding behavior is even more important, because it means that there is food for the whales here, even in the colder months.

Cheers to Josh Trosvig and the cod fishing vessel Cerulean, who saw whales they were unfamiliar with, and wanted to know more. Encounters like this are critical to saving the species, because we learn more about this endangered whale with each sighting. It also gets the word out, and means more folks who are on the water daily will keep their eyes out for North Pacific right whales.

These whales were seen near Unimak Pass, which is a major shipping channel between North America and Asia and sees a lot of boat traffic. NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Coast Guard are asking mariners to go slow, keep their eyes out for these whales and keep their distance in order to minimize the risk of ship strikes.

You can read more about the sighting and watch a video of the whales in the NOAA Fisheries article here.

2021 Sightings

August 2021: Four right whales were spotted by a NOAA whale survey in the Gulf of Alaska! They were sighted in pairs off Kodiak Island, two on August 21st and two on the 24th. Of the two whales seen on the 21st, one was new and one was the whale seen in June 2021 off Haida Gwaii. On the 24th, one whale was new and one was a whale previously seen nearby in 2006. Read NOAAs article about the sightings!

Below are two photos from the August 21st sighting, taken by NOAA researchers during their survey.

June 2021: Jared Towers and James Pilkington, scientists with Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans, just spent two weeks surveying the west coast of Haida Gwaii in search of North Pacific right whales. On their second-to-last day, they finally found one. They followed it for the rest of the day and the next morning, collecting scat and food samples, photos and footage. This information will be able to tell us if it’s a known whale or a new one, the sex of the whale, and whether it’s pregnant. Jared’s post about the sighting can be found here. “It really gave me a sense of what our oceans should look like,” said Jared. ”This massive creature evolved on our coast and belongs here.” In the past decade, right whales have been spotted twice in the same area, once in 2013 and once in 2018. Photos by Jared Towers. 

bottom of page