Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 12th, 2010
First, word reached us that a photograph had been taken of a killer whale off Massachusetts, in the Gulf of Maine, in April 2010.
Well, now have been the unexpected finding of an oarfish, the first in 130 years off the coast of Sweden.
A “giant herring” measuring 3.5 metres (11.4 feet) has been discovered off Sweden’s western coast — the first such fish found in the Scandinavian country in more than 130 years, a maritime museum said on May 11, 2010. Regalecus glesne, known as the King of Herrings or Giant Oarfish, was found dead in the small fishing village of Bovallstrand on Sweden’s west coast, about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from the Norwegian border.
Also today are reports of a gray (or grey, in Europe) whale (Eschrichtius robustus) seen in the Atlantic, which are causing waves of excitement, far and wide, among marine mammal authorities.
A handout picture made available by the Israeli Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center (IMMRAC) shows a grey whale off the coast of Israel. The appearance of the grey whale off the coast of Israel has stunned scientists, in what was thought to be the first time the giant mammal has been seen outside the Pacific in several hundred years.
The appearance of a grey whale off the coast of Israel has stunned scientists, in what was thought to be the first time the giant mammal has been seen outside the Pacific in several hundred years.
The whale, which was first sighted off Herzliya in central Israel on Saturday, is believed to have travelled thousands of miles from the north Pacific after losing its way in search of food.
“It’s an unbelievable event which has been described as one of the most important whale sightings ever,” said Dr Aviad Scheinin, chairman of the Israel Marine Mammal Research and Assistance Center which identified the creature.
A population of grey whales once inhabited the north Atlantic but became extinct in the 17th or 18th centuries and has not been seen there since.
The remaining colonies live in the western and eastern sectors of the north Pacific.
“What has amazed the entire marine mammal research community is there haven’t been any grey whales in the Atlantic since the 18th century,” he said. Scheinin said the creature, a mature whale measuring some 12 metres (39 feet) and weighing around 20 tonnes, probably reached the Atlantic through the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route that connects the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and is normally covered with ice.
“Here you have an animal that is supposed to live in the Pacific and because the ice in the Arctic is melting, it managed to get through this corridor near the Bering Strait,” Scheinin told AFP.
The population which lives in the northeastern Pacific normally migrates southwards in around October, heading for warmer waters around the Gulf of California in a huge round trip of at least 5,000 miles (8,000 kilometres).
So when autumn came, this particular grey whale began travelling south, keeping the land mass on the left and heading for the Californian Gulf with the aim of “turning left” into the bay.
But instead, it reached Gibraltar and turned left into the Mediterranean and ended up off the shores of Israel, Scheinin said….
What’s happening? Hold onto your hats, boys and girls. Gather your sails. This 2010 edition of summer in the northern waters could be something else. No telling what will be found or sighted.