Thousands of humpback whales missing from Hawaiian waters

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Thousands Of Humpback Whales Missing From Hawaiian Waters

Every year around this time, thousands of humpback whales arrive in Hawaiian waters, spurring a frenzy of related activities by tourists and locals alike.

According to Ed Lyman from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whales National Marine Sanctuary, this time around, only a relative handful have gotten there on schedule.

Experts are not entirely sure why the remainder are experiencing delays, but do have a couple of theories.

One is that El Niño has affected water temperatures, food availability, and migration patterns.

See photos of humpbacks in the wild:
17 PHOTOS
Stunning humpback whales in the wild
See Gallery
Thousands of humpback whales missing from Hawaiian waters
** FILE ** In this Jan. 23, 2005 file picture, a humpback whale leaps out of the water in the channel off the town of Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii. The number of endangered humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean has dramatically increased to more than 18,000 over the last 40 years, according to a new study. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: A Humpback whale in mid lunge, feeding on Bunker off NYC's Rockaway Beach on September 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Artie Raslich/Getty Images)
A Humpback whale jumps out of the waters off Juanchaco on Colombia's Pacific coast, Wednesday, July 15, 2009. Every year between June and November, Humpback whales undertake seasonal migration from the Antarctic Peninsula to the equatorial coast of Colombia to breed, feed and rest. (AP Photo/Christian Escobar Mora)
SEA OF CORTEZ, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO - 2015/02/20: Humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) slapping the pectoral fin on the water in the Bahia de La Paz, Sea of Cortez in Baja California, Mexico. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A humpback whale jumps at a whale watching point, off Okinawa, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, March 25, 2008.(AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
This Sept. 7, 2005 photo released by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows a humpback whale diving among an aggregation of short-tailed shearwaters in Cape Cheerful, near Unalaska, Alaska. The federal government is proposing removing most of the world's humpback whale population from the endangered species list. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced on Monday, April 20, 2015 that they want to reclassify humpbacks into 14 distinct populations, and remove 10 of those from the list. (Brenda Rone/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via AP)
FILE - In this July 11, 2008 file photo, a trio of humpback whales break the surface of the water as they work together in a group behavior known as "bubble feeding" off the coast of Cape Cod near Provincetown, Mass. The federal government is proposing removing most of the world's humpback whale population from the endangered species list. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries announced on Monday, Apr. 20, 2015 that they want to reclassify humpbacks into 14 distinct populations, and remove 10 of those from the list. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Seagulls fly past the fluke of a submerging humpback whale as it feeds on schools of fish at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off Cape Cod near Provincetown, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Humpback mother and calf.Baja Coast MexicoThe 2 whales were swimming along the Baja coast of Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean just outside Cabo
Humpback whale calf with mother shot in Vava'u Tonga in clear water. Sun is sparkling on the whales back.
Pod of humpback whales Maui, Hawaii at sunset.
Water pours off the tail of a humpback whale as it dives at the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast of Massachusetts, Tuesday, April 28, 2009. Temperatures in the Boston area were unseasonably warm, shattering previous records well over 90 degrees in the region. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
|SHK0036.JPG|SHK|Sharks, Whales, etc.|big|enormous|giant|gigantic|great|horizontal|humpback|large|mammals|marine|massive|mighty|nature|ocean|rough|strong|undersea|underwater|whales|
USA, Alaska, Humpback Whales (Megaptera novaengliae) sending up plumes of mist while group feeding in Chatham Strait on summer evening
(photo: Pat Hawks/Flickr)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


The majority of the traveling humpback whales may be spending a bit more time north of their usual destination.

The other theory also involves food resources, but focuses on a possible lack of them.

Humpback whale populations are believed to be booming, and while that is welcome news, it also means there is more competition for resources.

In that scenario, the animals taking the more than 2,000 mile trek from the waters west of Alaska and Canada may be running behind schedule as finding nourishment is taking longer than usual.

Either way, there are uncertainties about how the delay will affect the duration of the whales' stay once they do arrive.

Read Full Story

People are Reading