It has been confirmed that a grey whale sighted off Barcelona Harbour on 30 May is the same whale that was seen in Israeli waters on 8 May (see news report 11 May). Scientists have been able to confirm the identity of the whale by matching photographs taken of the animal’s tail fin from both encounters.
Grey whale populations are thought to exist only in the Pacific, the last Northern Atlantic sighting was sometime during the 17th-18th century. This whale is believed to be from the eastern Pacific population, which got lost and ended up in the Atlantic. The animal was first spotted in the eastern Mediterranean on 8 May by researchers at IMMRAC. It has now travelled 3,000km in 23 days into the western basin and it’s predicted that the whale will move out of the Mediterranean, up coastal waters of western Spain and Portugal. With the possibility of it travelling as far north as France, Ireland, the UK and even the North Sea over the next couple of months. Scientists are asking people to keep an eye out for the whale, if you do spot it please try and take a photograph and report the sighting to Sea Watch Foundation.