Blue whales sighted Port Neuf/Forestville in the Estuary and off Gaspé
Though a couple of blues had been sighted in Gaspé Bay earlier, blue whale sightings jumped on 14th June, when long term MICS collaborator Rene Roy and Thomas Doniol Valcroze (DFO) combined to photo-identify seven blue whales 7 miles off Port Neuf in the Estuary. A week later, on the June 21, (DFO) observed an eighth blue, a solitary male (B147).
Where had the group of seven gone? There were no reports from whale-watching operations further up towards Tadoussac and so they may have moved to the east, back out of the Estuary and eluded DFO's transect surveys. In addition Rene recently went out off Matane and found no blues in that sector either. On the north side of the Gasp. Peninsula DFO observers photo-identified female B197 on June 23. She is one of the few females to have been seen with a calf in this population, and has been regularly sighted in the St. Lawrence since the 1980s.
Only one blue remains un-matched to MICS's 34 year old blue whale catalogue for the western North Atlantic. The group of seven animals seen by Rene Roy was made up of 2 males (B397, B036), 2 females (B393, B392) and 3 animals of unknown sex (B412, B092, & the un-matched animal).
Keep your eyes peeled and stay tuned for more blues!