Sperm whales have recently been targeting black cod fishing boats

As recently seen on the BBC Two program Alaska: Earth’s Frozen Kingdom, sperm whales in the Gulf of Alaska have recently been committing crimes below the sea that have never been seen before. Sperm whales are by far the largest of the predators found in the ocean, and have recently been targeting black cod fishing boats.

These giant sea creatures use their long jaws to pull on the lines, then snap the fish right off of the hooks. This type of feeding behavior is known as depredation and whale experts believe that it is a learned behavior. One of the local boat skippers notes that their effectiveness with this technique is nearly perfect.

seaswop
Image credit: BBC and SEASWAP NOAA

“I don’t know how to quantify their intelligence but their effectiveness is almost perfect,” says Stephen Rhoads, a boat skipper who has been fishing in the area for 20 years.

“That they’re getting better at this every single year and it’s less work for them to hang out with us and take our fish than it is to dive down and get them off the bottom.

“There’s no doubt that these creatures are very smart.”

Long-line fishermen fish on the sea bed using hook-and-line equipment that can be up to five miles long.

Black cod and other deep water fish are natural prey for sperm whales in the region.

 

Source and read more at: bbc.com



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