New insights into the northward migration route of gray whales between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska

TitleNew insights into the northward migration route of gray whales between Vancouver Island, British Columbia, and southeastern Alaska
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsFord JKB, Durban JW, Ellis GM, Towers JR, Pilkington JF, Barrett-Lennard LG, Andrews RD
JournalMarine Mammal Science
Volume29
Pagination325-337
Date Published2013/04
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number0824-0469
Accession NumberWOS:000317288600016
KeywordsEschrichtius robustus; gray whale; killer whales; migratory corridor; satellite; shore survey; tagging; telemetry
Abstract

The route taken by northward migrating gray whales during spring between Vancouver Island and southeastern Alaska, a distance of about 575 km, has long been uncertain. It is generally believed that the whales closely follow the western, outer coastline of Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands), an archipelago lying between Vancouver Island and southeastern Alaska, consistent with their pattern of migrating close to shore over the majority of their northward migratory corridor. By tracking satellite-tagged individuals and surveying whales from shore bases, we provide evidence that this is not the primary migratory corridor, but instead that most whales migrate through Hecate Strait and Dixon Entrance, broad waterways that lie to the east and north of Haida Gwaii. By using this route, northbound gray whales potentially face a wider range of industrial activities and developments than they would by migrating along the outer coast.

DOI10.1111/j.1748-7692.2012.00572.x
Short TitleMar. Mamm. Sci.
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