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Humpback Whale Season in Hawai‘i is Underway

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Humpback whale spotted two miles west of Kīhei, Maui. PC: by Ellen Raimo (11.22.21)

Humpback whale season in Hawai‘i is already underway, with sightings occurring regularly off Maui shores. This dynamic image was captured today by photographer, Ellen Riamo, about two miles west of Kīhei.

The number of humpback whales in Hawaiian waters may vary from year to year, but scientists with NOAA’s Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary have estimated that as many as 12,000 humpback whales migrate from their feeding grounds off Alaska to breed, calve, and nurse their young in the warm waters of Hawai‘i each year.

Humpback whale season in Hawai‘i generally runs from November through May, although whales may be encountered in limited numbers during other months.


Iconic humpback whales in Hawai‘i are protected by state and federal agencies. The public is reminded that approaching humpback whales when on or in the water within 100 yards or within 1,000 feet by air is illegal.

If you see an injured or entangled marine mammal, keep a safe and legal distance and call NOAA’s Marine Mammal Stranding and Entanglement Hotline at 888-256-9840 or the US Coast Guard on VHF channel 16 immediately.

If you are reporting a vessel coming too close to a whale, call the NOAA Fisheries Enforcement Hotline at 800-853-1964 or email [email protected]. Additional guidelines and safety tips can be found here:


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