by Jean Souza

Swimming whale upside down with white pectoral fins. Permit HWS_P774-1714-40.

Here in Hawai‘i, we are currently in the middle of the humpback whale season, which goes from November through May.

Hawai‘i is the only state in the country where humpback whales breed, calve and nurse their young. During the breeding season, as many as 12,000 individuals may return to Hawai‘i, making Hawai‘i one of the largest humpback whale breeding grounds on Earth.

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary was designated by Congress in 1992 to conduct research, resource protection and education/outreach activities. Federal and state laws prohibit approaching humpback whales within 100 yards on/in the water or 1,000 feet in the air.

Reports of whales in distress and possible violations of federal laws can be made by calling the NOAA Marine Wildlife Emergency Response Hotline at (888) 256-9840.

  • Jean Souza is a Program Specialist with Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary. She serves as the on-site manager of Kaua`i Ocean Discovery in Kukui Grove Center, and is a member of the Hawaii Large Whale Entanglement Response Network. Email:

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