Record number of humpback whales observed off Japan’s Amami-Oshima Island

Record number of humpback whales observed off Japan's Amami-Oshima Island Source: NOAA Photo Library: sanc0602

The Amami Whale and Dolphin Association has said that it has observed a record number of humpback whales migrating to waters around the Amami-Oshima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwest Japan

According to association 1,750 of sea creatures were recorded between December 2021 and March 2022, with Chair Katsuki Oki saying that he believes the seas off Amami are calm offering a comfortable environment for the whales.

The good news is that the number of whales is up 60 percent on last season’s count of 1,097, with the first humpback recorded in the waters off Kasari on Dec. 7, 2021. Traffic is said to have peaked between late February and early March with pods heading south until February and a larger number heading north from March.

Importantly 158 mother and calves were recorded. Oki said: “There was a considerable number of apparently new-born calves. There were even mothers and calves that stayed for as long as 10 days, and we believe that the waters off Amami are suitable for humpbacks to raise their young.”

Along with record number of whales were a record number of tourists with 4,961 people joining the local whale watching tours. Of those 2,872 joined the swims that take you closer to the animals, and underwater to see them in their own environment. .

One of the larger creatures in the sea, humpbacks can measure between 11 and 14 metres and can weigh up to 30 tonnes. During the summer they migrate to the waters off the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia, and in the winter they head south to the warmer waters around Amami and Okinawa Prefecture where they also breed.

One of the benefits of the lockdown that came along with the pandemic is that many species managed to recover and from the record numbers it would humpback whales are one of those who benefitted from the reduction in ship movements.


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Written by

Peter McLaren-Kennedy

Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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