Guaranteed Whale Watching and Big Animal sightings are the result of an increased food supply in the Salish Sea.
Resident killer whales, Bigg’s/transient killer whales, grey and humpback whales are all becoming part of the landscape for Campbell River visitors. Humpback whales typically only frequent our waters between April and October each year to feed on krill, herring, and other schooling fish. Every spring, there can be sightings of grey whales as they feed on amphipods, crustaceans, and herring eggs in the sandy bottoms. Bigg’s/transient killer whales can be spotted year-round in our area as they travel to find their prey, marine mammals.
In 2021, a large amount of humpback whales stayed in the Desolation Sound region instead of returning to their breeding grounds in Hawaii, Central America, or Mexico. The reason for this is still unknown to researchers. Several pods of killer whales were seen with calves in tow and a high volume of seals have been visible in the area over the past three years. This all adds up to more food.
This could coincide with the changes to salmon fishing regulations since 2018 for British Columbia, with the introduction of catch and release policies between May to July 15th. All five species of the salmon population have started to replenish and as a result the area population of Bigg’s/transient killer whales, humpback whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, bears, eagles, seals, sea lions, and many more favour the region and the waters around Northern Vancouver Island.