HONOLULU — The 2024 Sanctuary Ocean Count, which is presented by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, will be held on Jan. 27, Feb. 24 and March 30.
Volunteers to the ocean count must register in advance. Participation will be limited for each of the Sanctuary Ocean Count sites, with the marine sanctuary encouraging volunteers to register early.
Volunteers must also participate in an orientation and training that will be held prior to the ocean count date. Volunteer registration will go live starting Jan. 8 at noon. Volunteers can register online at https://oceancount.org/.
During the ocean count, which is held on the shorelines of Kaua‘i, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island, the Pacific Whale Foundation conducts the Great Whale Count on Maui on the same date.
More information on the Great Whale Count can be found on the Pacific Whale Foundation website at www.pacificwhale.org/research/community-science/great-whale-count/.
The Sanctuary Ocean Count is a signature education outreach and citizen science project that the marine sanctuary hosts annually. The ocean count serves to promote public awareness about humpback whales, the marine sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities in the Hawaiian Islands.
The count, which is conducted three times in the year during peak whale season, provides a snapshot of humpback whale sightings from the shoreline.
On Kaua‘i, the count is done at up to 15 different sites covering the North Shore to Mana.
During the count, which is usually from 8 a.m. to noon on the final Saturday of January, February and March, participants tally humpback whale sightings and document the surface behavior of the whales.
Because it is an ocean count, participants are also encouraged to note any other species that might be seen during the count.
Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is administered by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the state of Hawai‘i Division of Aquatic Resources. Its mission is to protect humpback whales and their habitat in Hawaiian waters, where they migrate each winter to mate, calve and nurse their young.
Source: The Garden Island