Skip to content
All articles
  • All articles
  • About whales & dolphins
  • Create healthy seas
  • End captivity
  • Green Whale
  • Prevent deaths in nets
  • Scottish Dolphin Centre
  • Stop whaling
Minke whale © Ursula Tscherter - ORES

The whale trappers are back with their cruel experiment

Anyone walking past my window might have heard my groan of disbelief at the news...
Boto © Fernando Trujillo

Meet the legendary pink river dolphins

Botos don't look or live like other dolphins. Flamingo-pink all over with super-skinny snouts and...
Risso's dolphin entangled in fishing line and plastic bags - Andrew Sutton

The ocean is awash with plastic – can we ever clean it up?

You've seen pictures of plastic litter accumulating on beaches or marine wildlife swimming through floating...
Fin whale

Is this the beginning of the end for whaling off Iceland?

I'm feeling cautiously optimistic after Iceland's Fisheries Minister Svandís Svavarsdóttir wrote that there is little...
Mykines Lighthouse, Faroe Islands

Understanding whale and dolphin hunts in the Faroe Islands – why change is not easy

Most people in my home country of the Faroe Islands would like to see an...

Dolphin scientists look like you and me – citizen science in action

Our amazing volunteers have looked out for dolphins from the shores of Scotland more than...
Atlantic white-sided dolphins

The Faroes dolphin slaughter that sparked an outcry now brings hope

Since the slaughter of at least 1,423 Atlantic white-sided dolphins at Skálafjørður in my home...
Fin whale

From managing commercial slaughter to saving the whale – the International Whaling Commission at 75

Governments come together under the auspices of the International Whaling Commission (IWC) to make decisions...

Humpback migration season has begun in Fiji!

Posted on behalf of Cara Miller – WDC Pacific Islands Programme

Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of reports that humpback whales have made it all the way from their Antarctic foraging grounds back to the warm, tropical breeding grounds of the Pacific Islands. Within Fijian waters, sightings have been made near the islands of Taveuni, Leleuvia, Gau, and Koro. In a number of these sightings it was noted that calves were present – which is a particularly positive sign given that the Oceania humpback whale subpopulation is listed as Endangered on the IUCN redlist. Surveys conducted by Fiji Fisheries Department, University of the South Pacific, WWF, and WDC between 2010-2012 confirmed the low numbers and so these recent reports are particularly welcome.

We generally expect to start seeing humpback whales migrating into Fijian waters around July (although in some years it happens a bit earlier or a bit later that this). Humpback whales spend about 4 months feeding and 4 months in the breeding areas – and then about 6-8 weeks traveling between these two areas. While in Fiji they don’t feed as their prey items (large swarms of krill) don’t occur in large enough quantities in Fiji waters. Their primary reason for coming to Fiji is for calving and breeding. The peak migration period is in September – October. They start leaving Fijian waters in late October and November.

Generally the Vatu-I-Ra passage area and associated island groups tends to have the highest number of sightings during the season – and accordingly is considered to be one of the key migration corridors for humpback whales through Fiji. That said, they are also seen in many other parts of the country including the Lau group and the Mamanuca and Yasawa groups.

There is a national database kept by the Fiji Fisheries Department to collate all of the reported sightings occurring in Fiji waters. Such a database is obviously an important way to learn more about the distribution, movement patterns, and presence of calves in Fijian waters. In addition, a new facebook reporting page is just being set up (Fiji whale and dolphin sightings).