VIDEO: Strangely energetic harbour porpoises hang out off B.C.’s north coast

Research biologists who took boat out in Prince Rupert’s harbour say porpoises’ activity is unique

They may be small and elusive, but lately a large group of harbour porpoises, full of energy, have been hanging out in the mouth of the Prince Rupert harbour.

Research squad Caitlin Birdsall and Karina Dracott with the North Coast Cetacean Research Initiative took their boat out into the harbour to have a look at the uncommon sighting for themselves.

“We saw a lot of high-level activities with the porpoises. There were mothers and calves out there, which was really great to see,” Dracott said. “Every direction we looked, they were flying through the water. There’s a lot of energy, which usually they’re kind of slow moving.”

The porpoises were moving so quickly, they had trouble capturing them on camera.

READ MORE: Lone killer whale explores Prince Rupert harbour

For the past two years, the research team has been studying the animals, a special concern species, in the Prince Rupert area. They use an underwater listening device called a sea pod to listen for high frequency clicks that the harbour porpoises emit.

“We have a land-based spot that we take a high-powered scope out, and we basically count the number of harbour porpoises using that area,” Birdsall added.

What makes this active group in the harbour even more unusual, Dracott said, is the vessel traffic in the area. Along the coast, it’s the second largest aggregation of harbour porpoises they’ve seen on an annual basis.

“One of the reasons we want to understand how they’re using that area and when they’re using it is to be able to work with different industry groups to better protect and reduce disturbance,” Birdsall said.

READ MORE: Marine activity growth leads to protection plan

Citizens are encouraged to do their part as well. They can download the free WhaleReport app from the Ocean Wise Conservation Association to report harbour porpoises, whales, and dolphins in the area.

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.


Shannon Lough | Editor
Shannon Lough 
Send Shannon email
Like the The Northern View on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

RDCK to implement new emergency alert notification system

System also includes sends alerts for water advisories

RDCK prepares anti-discrimination, anti-racism policies

Also: building codes, wildfire mitigation, parks openings, and Winlaw boardwalk

LETTER: Prepare a go-bag

From reader Jane Merks

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read