Humpback Whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) observations in Laskeek Bay, western Hecate Strait, in spring and early summer, 1990–2018


  • Anthony J. Gaston Research Scientist, Environment Canada (Ottawa, ON)
  • Neil G. Pilgrim Laskeek Bay Conservation Society
  • Vivian Pattison Department of Geography, University of Victoria



Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, Hecate Strait, seasonal occurrence, population trends, oceanography


We describe observations of Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) made along the west side of central Hecate Strait, British Columbia, during the spring and summer of 1990–2018. From none in March, the frequency of sightings increased from early April to a peak in May, then fell in June with few in July. The frequency of sightings during the peak period (1 May–20 June) increased over the course of the study at a mean rate of 6% a year, similar to increases recorded elsewhere in British Columbian waters. The frequency of sightings was highest in years when the Oceanic Niño Index for January–March was low and peaked earlier in years when the Oceanic Niño Index was high. Both of these relationships suggest a connection between Humpback Whale sightings in western Hecate Strait and the larger oceanographic context, with sightings more frequent in years of lower water temperatures.

Author Biography

Anthony J. Gaston, Research Scientist, Environment Canada (Ottawa, ON)

Expertise: marine birds, foraging behaviour, individual behaviour.