The 2022-2023 whale watching season has been successful in general terms due to the large number of whales present in the area, as well as the significant advances in research activities aimed at the preservation of this natural resource.
About the above, Mrs. Astrid Frisch Jordán, leader of the civil association Ecología y Conservación de Ballenas (ECOBAC), has stated that "it is an honor for us to inform that, once again, we bid farewell to these magnificent marine mammals after a successful whale watching season".
It is detailed that, for the fourth consecutive year, Humpback Whale Research Monitoring has been carried out in Banderas Bay. This activity involves trips to the sea to search for, document, and photograph the ventral part of the humpback whales' tails. The information collected includes sighting data, coordinates, number of whales, and behavior, among others.
This information is valuable for understanding the abundance, distribution, seasonality, migratory routes, reproductive cycles, residence times, and number of whale calves. It is worth mentioning that our research samplings are possible thanks to the generous support of the Fundación Ecológica Biomar A.C., the Stanley W. Ekstrom Foundation, Opequimar Centro Marino, and Ecotours Vallarta.
An example of success this season is the record of the presence of Venom (3BB035), one of the oldest whales in category 3 of the FIBB Catalog. "We have known this whale since 2001, and since then it has returned in 13 more seasons. Recently we saw it in the bay in large courtship groups, where it is common to observe it aggressively fighting with other whales, presumed to be male. This whale feeds in California during the summer and then migrates south to Banderas Bay and Guerrero also to reproduce".
In addition, the importance of good practice dissemination activities has been highlighted. "Every season, the ECOBAC team, along with its volunteers, go out to disseminate good boating practices at different points in Banderas Bay. Every two weeks, flyers have been distributed at the Opequimar marina to tourists and boat personnel, with information on whale watching guidelines."
Every other Thursday, in Marina Vallarta, Kuikani, a life-size inflatable humpback calf, has been exhibited to inform more people. In addition, "we were present at the marina of La Cruz de Huanacaxtle to give talks to people about good sailing practices".
Despite the end of the season, there are still some whales left in Mexico, so the work of RABEN (Whale Encircled Assistance Network) is not over yet.