Photo: Surface feeding

Humpback whale lunge feeding on krill (Credit: J Towers- Marine Education and Research Society)

Recently, on an excursion on the waters around Haida Gwaii and the north/central coast of British Columbia, I was fortunate enough to see well over a hundred different whales.

These whales are seasonal residents to these waters, along with thousands of seabirds of numerous species. And they're all there for one thing: Krill!

On some occasions the krill was so dense at the surface that all kinds of animals were feeding on it from every angle—seabirds, including gulls and shearwaters, were coming at it from above, auklets and fish were coming at it from below, while humpback and fin whales were coming at it from the side. The air was filled with the sounds of tiny krill and fish hitting the surface in a prey and predator battle, along with the cries of seabirds and exhalations of whales that were also visible for as far the eye could see.

Feeding frenzies like this are a common occurrence in Hecate Strait and Caamano Sound, two bodies of water along the northern gateway tanker route. Imagine such an event taking place with spilled oil on the water's surface.

Message to Canadians: Oil and water don't mix. Keep it in the ground.

By Jared Towers

Alert Bay

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1 Comment

Oct 29, 2012
4:53 PM

Thanks for this…a picture is worth a thousand words…you are so right

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