All Southern Resident Killer Whales have been in Inland Puget Sound for 17 days

Although this hasn’t happened in recent memory, there were enough fish to keep southern residents in Puget Sound for weeks in the summer and fall.

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — The three pods of southern resident killer whales have been in Puget Sound for more than two weeks, which hasn’t happened in recent memory, according to the Orca Behavior Institute.

The pods have been spotted from south of Puget Sound to north of the Campbell River in British Columbia, the institute writes on facebook.

Although it has become rare for orca pods to stay in the area for such a long time, the fish runs were plentiful enough to sustain southern residents for weeks at a stretch in the summer and fall, said the institute. The presence of whales is a good indicator that there are enough fish for orcas to feed on.

According to WDFW numbers, Puget Sound Buddy Racing has improved since 2019, which was the worst Buddy season in 40 years. This year, the fall run has reached approximately 600,000 to 700,000 fish, double the number originally expected. State and tribal experts had originally predicted a run of about 300,000 fish, down from 2021.

The institute noted that the whales also spend a lot of time in the Strait of Georgia, which is a good sign that there is likely abundant winter chinook. The chinook does not go out to the open sea, but rather spends the majority of its life in inland waters. According to the institute, ride numbers have been relatively constant over the past 50 years, which is one of the reasons why Southern residents, and the J-pod in particular, are often around during the summer months. ‘winter.

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