In the last few years, humpback whales are being increasingly seen around Cortes Island. Unbelievably 86 individual Humpback whales were identified in local waters just last year.
These humpback whales are returning to seasonally feed in our rich, marine waters following their extermination, by whaling, which started 150 years ago when the Dawson Whaling Company established a tryworks in Whaletown Bay in 1869.
We are very privileged to have them here and can also help with their protection and conservation.
Report your sightings
If you see a Humpback please report your sightings to the following organizations to assist with important Humpback research that is being undertaken.
1. Email ALL SIGHTINGS WITH PHOTOS of humpback whale dorsal fins and tail fluke undersides to Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) along with the date, time, location (ideally w/ GPS coordinates) and photographer’s name.
2. Sightings with and without photos may be made online to the BC Cetacean Sightings Network with date, time, location (ideally with GPS coordinates) and observer’s name. This site will also link you to the BC Cetacean Sightings app. for both iPhone and Android.
Help keep them safe
If you are out on the water please learn how to be safe and responsible in their presence. New marine mammal regulations and best practices are available at See a Blow? Go Slow! Give all whales, dolphins and porpoises a minimum of 200 m space. When you see a blow…go slow, to avoid a collision.
Further information can also be found at http://wildwhales.org/bewhalewise/.
It is also now mandatory to report all incidents of collision and entanglement to DFO at 1-800-465-4336.
New informational signage for boaters is up on all of our local docks.
Other whales and dolphins
We are also fortunate to have other species of cetaceans in our waters including killer whales, occasional minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Dall’s porpoise and harbour porpoise. For help with species identification and to report sightings of them, visit the BC Cetacean Sightings Network.
Marine Mammals in Distress
If you see a sick, dead or distressed marine mammal please call the Marine Mammal Reporting Hotline on 1-800-465-4226, VHF Channel 16.
Thank you for your help!
Join Friends of Cortes Island
Become a member and support the work we are doing in the community to help look after our beautiful island
Friends of Cortes Island Society (FOCI) is a charitable organization that has been active for over 25 years. Our organization exists to monitor and preserve the health of local ecosystems, and to provide educational programs that foster a greater understanding of the natural environment. Through all of our projects, we work to promote environmental integrity through community responsibility.