A small, shy whale, may be one of the rarest marine mammals along the coast of B.C., but remarkably little is known about minke whales and the threats they face in the north-east Pacific, according to Jared Towers, research director with the Marine Education and Research Society.
Seldom-seen minke whales – unlike the splashier and much-studied killer whales and humpbacks found in B.C. waters – have no special protection, either in Canada or the U.S, and, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Cetacean Research and Management, more research is needed.
Information is essential if minkes are to be protected from hazards such as oil spills and vessel strikes, Towers said.
Numbers in B.C are likely to be about 388, with another 478 animals off the Washington, Oregon and California coast, Towers said.
“The numbers are really much less than expected…Their numbers are probably much less than the number of killer whales,” he said.