Another Gray Whale Spotted in San Francisco Bay
Another gray whale has been spotted in San Francisco Bay, and boaters are again being asked to steer clear.
The whale, reported Sunday, is one of several to be spotted this month, including a mother and calf pair that swam into the Bay last week.
Officials from the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary are not releasing the location where the latest whale was sighted, in an effort to keep the curious away, said spokeswoman Mary Jane Schramm.
The appearance is entirely normal, however, and not a cause for concern so long as the whales are not frightened deeper into the Bay where they might have trouble getting out, Schramm said. The whales frequently stop off in the Bay on their migrations between breeding grounds in the south and feeding grounds in the north.
“It’s business as usual as long as they’re not harassed,” Schramm said.
Boaters are instructed not to get within 300 feet of a whale, cut across a whale’s path, make sudden speed or directional changes around a whale, or get between a whale cow and her calf. Separating a calf from its mother would doom it to starvation, officials said.
Schramm said that the pair reported last week was last seen swimming outside the Golden Gate again.
Collisions between boats and whales can have disastrous impacts for both the whale and the vessel, and could result in legal consequences, according to the marine sanctuary, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Schramm said that many boaters aren’t aware of the regulations regarding approaching whales, and that boaters may inadvertently cause the whales harm.