Pilot whales & Fin whale in Vestfjorden

A few days ago, Tom saw Pilot whales just 10 min. from Bodø when he came with the Hurtigruten over to Lofoten to help me for the next 4 months. Unfortunately he couldn’t take pictures, the whales dived when the ship came close, so we can’t say if it is the same pod that we have seen 2 weeks ago..
The bad weather makes it really difficult this year to go out to sea and study the whales, but we tried yesterday, despite the big swell coming form western winds and we found a Fin whale feeding in plankton. The only sounds we heard were seismic shooting from oil exploration surveys ca 500km away, looks like this low frequency “hammering”noise has become a chronic acoustic background during the summer and migration months for the whales here in northern Norway. It is unknown how this affects them and how they cope with this, from other places in the world studies show that this noise can affect them in a wide range from painful death (when too close), physical injuries (e.g. hearing damage) to behavioral changes (different vocalization and migration patterns) or long term stress induced illnesses. The best would be for the whales to avoid these noisy areas, but along the Norwegian coast and Barents Sea they have no other place to go!

For all tourists/visitors: we had to close our center due to financial problems and can’t offer any activity this year in Henningsvaer (no boat trips, no center, no exhibition, no lectures!), we try to write about our findings as much and as often as we can on this news blogg, please follow us, you can also use our facebook site.
However, small groups up to 10 people are welcome to learn more about our research at our research office in Henningsvaer, write an email for more information!
You  can also help us with report whale sightings and send us pictures, so we don’t miss the possibility to study the groups and individuals that come to Lofoten.

For our members: soon we will send you a newsletter and a welcoming note! you will be able to discuss whit us and take part of our research projects more closely!

Thank you!

Heike

here is a sound file of the seismic noise recorded from outside Henningsvaer in the Vestfjord as of now:

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