Plett’s humpback whales from eastern coast of Africa
Jared Harding’s post on Ocean Blue Adventures’ blog in Plett provides some really interesting information on the humpback whales of South Africa.
Humpback whale populations declined dramatically as a result of large-scale whaling operations during the 19th and 20th centuries. In the southern hemisphere, humpback whales were formally protected from commercial whaling in 1963, although illegal whaling by the Soviets continued into the 1970s. Thankfully, humpback whales have shown a strong recovery since the end of whaling.
The humpback whales seen off Plettenberg Bay belong to breeding stock C which occurs along the east coast of Africa, with breeding grounds off Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania. This breeding stock is split into three sub-stocks, with sub-stock C1 breeding off the eastern coasts of South Africa and Mozambique, sub-stock C2 breeding off Madagascar, and sub-stock C3 breeding off western Indian Ocean island groups such as Mayotte and the Comoros. Each of these sub-stocks are estimated to consist of over 7000 individual humpback whales.