[MARMAM] New humpback whale sighting in the Spanish Mediterranean (Cartagena)

Pauline Gauffier paulinegauffier at hotmail.fr
Fri Aug 10 18:17:02 PDT 2018

Dear colleagues,

I would like to draw your attention to the unusual sighting of a humpback whale in the Spanish Mediterranean, near Cabo Tiñoso, Cartagena (roughly 37°32N / 001°07W). This might be the first local sighting of this species, although sightings of humpback whales have occurred almost annually in the Mediterranean Sea for the last decade.

The animal, which is believed to be a juvenile individual, was first spotted by the Monitoring Service of Cabo Tiñoso MPA on the 5th of August, extremely close to shore. It has then been observed daily in the same area during the following 3 days, until the 8th of August. The animal was observed very close to the cliffs and up to a few miles offshore, an area of submarine canyons, home to several cetacean species including deep divers. It was displaying very intense surface activity, both in the presence of recreational vessels and by itself (some videos were filmed from the shore).

The whale watching company Cetáceos y Navegación was able to get decent pictures of the fluke and dorsal fin that can be seen on the company's Facebook page.
High resolution images have been submitted to the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalogue, and matching is currently in progress.

Some observers reported a strong fish smell although no surface feeding was directly observed and there are numerous observations of the whale breaching continuously for several minutes. To my knowledge, the whale has not been seen again since it was last spotted on the 8th of August. I would be grateful if I could receive an update in case someone spots the animal somewhere else.

Pauline Gauffier
Reserva Marina de Cabo de Palos-Islas Hormigas, Spain
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