Whales Are Enjoying Quieter Oceans This Year

Humpback whales feed together just outside Glacier Bay, Alaska | NPR | Christine Gabriele/National Park Service photo taken under National Marine Fisheries Service Scientific Research Permit #21059

NPR reports that whales are getting a break from oceanic noise this year as a result of the pandemic slowing international shipping, however Jason Gedamke, an ocean acoustics program manager at NOAA Fisheries, says more needs to be done:

When you have animals that for millions of years have been able to communicate over vast distances in the ocean, and then once we introduce noise and have increased sound levels and they can’t communicate over those distances, clearly there’s going to be some impact there.

Jason Gedamke

It also notes that in recent years, Glacier Bay has experienced a dramatic decline in the humpback whale population, possibly linked to health problems and a drop in food sources. In the Pacific, food issues for whales have been linked to warmer ocean temperatures referred to as “the blob,” but this year has shown more encouraging signs for the whale populations.