HONOLULU, HAWAII – A pair of humpback whales, likely a mother and its yearling, entered Honolulu Harbor early this morning and spent time within the harbor near Pier 35, and later Pier 29, moved out of the harbor this afternoon and were headed out to sea by 1:45 p.m. today. Earlier reports called these two animals a mother and calf.
DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) sent a patrol boat with two officers about 11 a.m. to Honolulu harbor to continue to maintain a safety zone around the whales. They relieved Coast Guard officials who had been monitoring the whales since the morning.
There were reports of four additional whales early in the morning near Pier 2, but these could not be confirmed.
DLNR reminds boaters that the months of November through May are humpback season in Hawaii, and reminds boaters to be alert and watch for whales in Hawaii waters to avoid whale strikes. Vessel operators and other ocean users are required to stay at least 100 yards away from them at all times. Humpback whales are an endangered species and are protected by State and Federal laws.
“We are grateful for the coordinated efforts of DOCARE, the Coast Guard, Honolulu Harbor Marine Traffic Control, and NOAA, who together ensured the safety of both the whales and boaters today,” said Elia Herman, State Co-Manager of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. “We also appreciate the efforts of ocean users who first sighted and reported the animals in the Harbor.”
To report a marine mammal in trouble (injured, stranded, or entangled whale, dolphin or seal) please call the NOAA Marine Mammal Hotline: 1-888-256-9840 or the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) statewide hotline: 643-DLNR (3567).
Please report immediately and keep your distance, for your safety. Injured, sick or entangled animals can be unpredictable and dangerous.
The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, which is jointly managed by the State of Hawai‘i and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lies within the shallow warm waters surrounding the main Hawaiian Islands and constitutes one of the world’s most important humpback whale habitats.
Deborah Ward is with the Department of Land and Natural Resources