• humpback whale;
  • Megaptera novaeangliae;
  • photoidentification;
  • interchange;
  • feeding grounds;
  • North Pacific


Humpback whales feed in several high-latitude areas of the North Pacific. We examined the interchange of humpback whales between one of these areas, off California, and those in other feeding grounds in the eastern North Pacific:. Fluke photographs of 597 humpback whales identified off California between 1986 and 1992 were compared with those off Oregon and Washington (29); British Columbia (81); southeastern Alaska (343); Prince William Sound, Alaska (141); Kodiak Island, Alaska (104); Shumagin Islands, Alaska (22); and in the Bering Sea (7). A high degree of interchange, both inter-and intrayear, was found among humpback whales seen off California, Oregon, and Washington., A low rate of interchange was found between British Columbia and California.: two whales seen near the British Columbia/Washington border were photographed off California in a different year, No interchange was found between California and the three feeding areas in Alaska. Humpback whales off California, Oregon, and Washington form a single intermixing feeding aggregation with only limited interchange with areas farther north. These findings are consistent with photographic identification studies in the North Atlantic and with genetic studies in both the North Atlantic and North Pacific.