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Scientists want you to keep an eye out for humpback whale pairs

humpback whale mother and calf

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary reports that there has been an influx in the amount of mother and calf pairs off the shores of Hawaiʻi.

Dozens of mother and calf whales have been spotted around the main Hawaiian Islands during this year’s whale season. Humpback whale season in Hawaiʻi runs from November through May when whales from Alaska migrate south to breed and nurse.

However, there have been over 100 confirmed whale-vessel collisions in the past four decades. Officials warn that crashes can be avoided if boats maintain a speed of 15 knots in water depths of 600 feet or less.

When directly approaching a whale to view it, the speed should be reduced to 6 knots or less.

It is illegal to approach a humpback whale closer than 100 yards by sea or drone. Aircraft must maintain a distance of at least 1000 feet.

There have been more than 200 reports of fishing gear entanglement in the past 20 years.

If you see an injured or entangled marine mammal, call the statewide NOAA Marine Wildlife Hotline at 888-256-9840 or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately.

"By locating distressed animals, reporting and providing initial documentation and assessment of the animal — from a safe and legal distance — ocean users act like first responders and are the foundation of our conservation efforts," said Ed Lyman, the sanctuary's natural resource specialist.

Additional safety tips can be found on NOAA's website.

Zoe Dym is a news producer at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
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