The Humpback Whale is a threatened species in Canada. Humpback Whale numbers in Canada, including BC, and elsewhere were significantly reduced as a result of hunting. In 1905, the population off of Vancouver Island was estimated at a minimum of 4,000 individuals; however, in 1980, sightings off BC were rare (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2010
). Recolonization seems to be occurring, however, and recent estimates based on evaluating data from between 1992 and 2006 indicate that today there are 1,428-3,856 individuals using BC waters (as a migration route or for feeding) (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2010). Overall, the 2010 Recovery Strategy indicates an increase in the North Pacific population from 6,000 to 8,000 individuals in 2003 to an estimated current population of more than 18,000 individuals (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2010).
Areas of extirpation in BC apparently have not been repopulated (Vancouver Aquarium 2010), probably a result of slow population growth and the site fidelity exhibited by this species (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2010). However, Humpback Whales are found in waters in the northern and southern regions of the province and contiguous parts of the US. Estimates show 3,000-5,000 individuals in the southeast Alaska/northern British Columbia region and 200-400 in the southern BC/Washington region (Fisheries and Oceans Canada 2010).
View a map of Humpback Whale migration in the North Pacific.
Read the 2010 National Recovery Strategy for the Humpback Whale.
Read the Vancouver Aquarium fact sheet for the Humpback Whale.
Read the IUCN information page on this species.
View a video of sleeping Humpback Whales.
View a Planet Earth video about Humpback Whales.
Additional note prepared by E-Fauna BC.