A pod of over 50 humpback whales have been seen feeding off the coast of Jervis Bay.
A group of between 50 to 60 humpback whales were spotted by researchers feeding on bait fish and krill in Jervis Bay waters.
Traditionally, adult humpback whales do not feed on migration. Although, they have been recorded opportunistically feeding on the southern migration, typically down south off Eden, Merimbula and Tasmania.
Marine Mammal Research project coordinator Scott Sheehan said it was a rare phenomenon and the first time large numbers of whales had been spotted feeding on krill off Jervis Bay.
"Jervis Bay was very lucky to have this phenomenon happen just off the southern arm of the Jervis Bay, Booderee National Park - pods of 6-10 rounding up the prey for a quick snack before heading south to the southern feeding grounds," Mr Sheehan said.
"Males and a few mothers and calves got into the feeding activity.
"While feeding the whales would regroup into pods of 4-6 with clusters of pods grouping up to 6-8 and working together cooperatively to round up the krill to the surface and scoop them up.
"This was a great sight to see for the lucky few that got on the water and off the coast of the Booderee National Park and Beecroft Peninsula.
"We got on the water with Dolphin Watch Cruises Jervis Bay to see the whales.
"Usually you would have to go to Antarctica to see this kind of whale activity in the southern hemisphere."
Scott explained why the feeding phenomenon may have occurred.
"When cold water currents merge with the warm water that is coming down the coast it can create a upwelling on the surface, typically full of rich nutrients," he said.
"This upwelling will 'fertilize' the surface of the water, meaning that the water often will have high biological productivity that creates the food chain for marine life."
Just last month down in Eden, at the start of the whale watching season, more than 100 feeding humpbacks put on a show.
Also in September, for the first time ever, a humpback whale was recorded swimming in Kakadu National Park in the Northern Territory.
Scott Sheehan encouraged the community and visitors to help researchers.
To help contribute to dolphin and whale research, send through photos and details of marine mammal sightings through to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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