Observing whales and other marine mammals in the wild can be a breathtaking experience. However, in our excitement, we must remember that our actions may detrimentally impact a whale’s need to feed or rest.
One of the most common cetaceans in Oregon near shore waters is the gray whale. Oregon is critical habitat for gray whales, who come here to feed, supporting their migration and breeding periods. To recover from, and sustain their long migration, gray whales must gain up to 30% of their body mass (23,000 lbs) during the summer feeding period. It’s important to give them space to find food and not disturb their feeding behavior.
Approaching whales too close or too fast can disturb their behavior. Vessel guidelines help balance our desire to view whales in the wild with their need to feed and rest effectively.
Following these guidelines will help enhance the sustainability of whale watching in Oregon by making it possible for whales to successfully feed here and return in subsequent years.