A sperm whale is spotted in Johnstone Strait. (Jared Towers).

First sighting of sperm whale in B.C. strait

DFO scientist says whale may have been exploring new waters or looking for more food sources

A sperm whale has been spotted for the first time in Johnstone Strait off Vancouver Island.

Jared Towers, a cetologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, says Lisa Larsson from Orcalab, a whale research station in the Inside Passage, first heard and recorded the animal in the strait on Monday.

“We knew the sperm whale was there before we saw it because we were listening to it,” Towers says.

“They are unmistakable,” he says. “They are probably the most unique-looking of all the whales.”

Towers says it’s possible the sperm whale was exploring new waters or looking for additional food sources.

“One has to remember that the species was heavily hit by whalers in the early 1900s.”

Sperm whales were detected in Johnstone Strait in February 1984 by researcher John Ford, who had acoustic recordings of the mammal, but this is the first time the animal has been seen.

READ MORE: Orcas off B.C. coast surprise prawn fishermen

READ MORE: B.C. man captures images of large orca pod near Sechelt

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