Featured Image Credit: phys.org
By: Sarah Sharkey
In the cold northern waters of Norway, killer whales are hunting herring. These abundant fish are delicious and packed with calories that the orcas need.
Although the herring are abundant, they have been steadily migrating further north each year. Climate change is slowly pushing them towards even chillers waters. The fish need the water temperature to be under 6 degree Celsius (37 degrees Fahrenheit) in order to breed. As the fish migrate further north, the predators are forced to follow.
The longer journey does not seem to bother the hardy killer whales as the constantly consume herrings along the way. These fish are the majority of what these whales eat so they have no choice but to follow.
In the past 20 years, herring have moved their breeding spot 190 miles north. According to the founder of Undersea Soft Encounter, “ we believe that the global warming which is responsible for rising temperatures has pushed the herring further north. In the long term, they’re going to move even further north. If the stocks were to diminish, it would be an environmental catastrophe for whales, orcas, sea birds, and cod.”
Although the further ramifications are uncertain, the whales seem to be content with the change for now. In fact, the whale population here has almost doubled in the last two decades. Hopefully, this population will continue to thrive here.
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