Monday, May 08, 2006

Humpback whales crowding Hawaiian waters

Migrating humpback whales are becoming so dense in the waters off Hawai`i, that boats are routinely running into them.

The estimated population of 10,000 humpbacks in the North Pacific has been grwoing steadily by about 7 percent for more than a decade.

Humpback whale breaches water in channel off Maui
Humpback whale breaches water in channel off Maui. AP photo from Yahoo News.

About 1,000 calves are born off the coasts of Hawai`i every year and collisions with boats have been increasing. In 2006, there was a record seven accidents of this kind.

The problem may have something to do with increasing numbers of boats int he water but researchers believe it may also reflect the growing population of humpbacks.

Humpback whales are protected by both international and federal law.

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