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The WSP learned that a young beluga whale was sighted in late September 2003 near an aquaculture site in the Bay of Fundy. This little whale, who was seen circling a moored barge and compensator buoys at Pocologan, New Brunswick, soon became known as “Poco”.

Poco was sighted around several aquaculture sites farther along the coast right up until the beginning of December 2003. This very inquisitive little whale showed particular interest in commercial divers while they worked on the salmon pens. More than one diver reported having a sense that someone was watching them, only to get quite a start when they turned to see a luminous round head just inches from their shoulder. Poco often followed the divers, studying their every move as they worked on the inside of the nets. When the divers performed maintenance on the outside, Poco was right there beside them,  peering into their face masks and rolling in the bubbles that rise from the regulators. While all this sounds like fun, the WSP informed the divers and site managers of the seriousness and potential risks to the whale as well as people. Thankfully, a great deal of concern for Poco’s well-being around the nets, ropes and boats was demonstrated by most everyone  who encountered him.

The WSP did not receive any beluga sighting reports during the winter months until February 14, 2004 when two divers encountered a beluga that likely was Poco, around Deer Island, NB.  

Our second season with Poco has begun with this young whale traveling southward to Massachusetts, first to Gloucester in early March 2004 and to Boston Harbor in April. By the end of June, Poco had traveled northward along the Maine coast. Since our 2003 documentation, Poco has sustained two significant injuries that will leave permanent scars. This lone beluga’s presence in busy harbors is of great concern and the Whale Stewardship Project continues to collaborate with officials and organizations in the New England region on efforts to keep him safe.  Our greatest hope is that Poco will continue his journey northward, and ultimately resume life with other beluga whales.

See Archives List for more on Poco.


Special thanks to the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station and the Maritimes

Aquatic Species at Risk Office for initially alerting us to Poco’s whereabouts. Thanks also to

the Marine Animal Rescue Team (New England Aquarium), the Whale Center of New England

and to the many individuals in the north-east US who have kept us informed of Poco’s travels

in US waters.

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Whale Stewardship Project

P.O. Box 36101

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada   B3J 3S9

1-902-889-2679

Email: wsp@eastlink.ca

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