NYTimes: Unprecedented concentration of sea creatures near shore in California; Experts baffled, longtime residents astounded — Biologist: “It’s a very strange year… The $64,000 question is why?” — Similar to ‘extraordinary’ events seen recently along Canada’s Pacific coast? (VIDEO)
November 25th, 2013
New York Times, November 24, 2013: It began with the anchovies, miles and miles of them [...] in the waters of Monterey Bay. Then the sea lions came, by the thousands [...] the pelicans [...] bottlenose dolphins [in groups of 100 or more have been spotted] [...] But it was the whales that astounded even longtime residents — more than 200 humpbacks [...] and, on a recent weekend, a pod of 19 rowdy orcas [...] the water in every direction roiled with mammals [...] For almost three months, Monterey and nearby coastal areas have played host to a mammoth convocation of sea life that scientists here say is unprecedented in their memories [...] never that anyone remembers have there been this many or have they stayed so long [...] Last month, so many anchovies crowded into Santa Cruz harbor that the oxygen ran out, leading to a major die-off. Marine researchers are baffled about the reason for the anchovy explosion. [...]
Baldo Marinovic, research biologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz: “It’s a very strange year [...] The $64,000 question is why this year? [...] Now [the anchovies are] all kind of concentrating on the coast.”
Just a few weeks ago similar sightings were reported along Canada’s Pacific coast:
Vancouver Sun, Nov. 6, 2013: An extraordinary string of recent whale encounters around Vancouver Island is likely due to luck, not one factor, experts say. “This has not been a typical year,” said John Ford, head of the cetacean research program at Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. [...] The “biggie” of the bunch is the endangered North Pacific right whale, spotted twice in B.C. waters for the first time in 60 years. [...] There have been other remarkable whale encounters [...] passengers aboard the B.C. ferry between Galiano Island and Tsawwassen were treated to the sight of a superpod of about 1,000 Pacific white-sided dolphins [...]
Nick Claxton, Indigenous academic adviser at the University of Victoria: Recent whale encounters could have a deeper meaning, according to an Indigenous worldview [...] “We see them as our relatives, as ancestors. All of these occurrences remind us of our place here and our connection to the natural world. It’s for the better of all of us to listen.