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Sighting rates and prey of Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and other cetaceans off Cormorant Island, British Columbia

Jared R. Towers, Christie J. McMillan, Rebecca S. Piercey


From June to August 2012, we conducted over 500 h of visual surveys from Cormorant Island, British Columbia, to determine behaviour and habitat use patterns of nearby cetaceans. Seven species were documented, but Minke Whales (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) were by far the most common and were observed lunge feeding at the surface on 15 occasions. In addition, this species was documented surface lunge feeding on Pacific Herring (Clupea pallasi) and Pacific Sand Lance (Ammodytes personatus) on 32 occasions during vessel-based cetacean surveys around Cormorant Island between 2010 and 2014. Although Minke Whales are relatively uncommon in British Columbia, these results indicate that they can regularly be found in specific feeding areas during the summer.


Minke Whale; Balaenoptera acutorostrata; habitat use; feeding ground; Pacific Herring; Clupea pallasi; Pacific Sand Lance; Ammodytes personatus; Cormorant Island; British Columbia

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