The role of humpback whale predation on commercial fish population dynamics in British Columbia
Humpback whales show remarkable recovery after the impacts of commercial whaling, and their consumption of essential food resources could affect local herring and salmon populations. Little is known about the feeding ecology of humpback whales in BC waters, despite their increasing importance to fisheries and tourism. Both humpback whales and fish are vulnerable to prey depletion, and the public have a vested interest in the future of humpbacks and fisheries in BC. In this thesis, I will examine the distribution of prey consumption by humpback whales to assess how their continued recovery may influence the productivity of herring and salmon. Effective management of marine populations requires knowledge of their biological needs and public support of federal recovery strategies. Benefits to the Pacific Whale Watch Association and Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea include strong industry collaboration and leading scientific knowledge for translating clear answers to the public.