Leap in dolphin sightings in Mutsu Bay in Japan

JUMP IN INTEREST: The unusually large number of dolphins seen at Mutsu Bay has led to an increase in the number of ferry passengers who want to see the mammals.


    Jun 22, 2016

    Leap in dolphin sightings in Mutsu Bay in Japan


    A SURGE of dolphin sightings have been logged at Mutsu Bay from ferries this season, boosting the area's reputation as an easily accessible spot to get a glimpse of the friendly mammals.

    Dolphins appear in the area every year from mid-April through June but unusually large numbers have been observed this year.

    There was even a day when about 200 dolphins were confirmed in sightings from ferries.

    Locals expect the news to trigger a tourism boom, given that the Hokkaido Shinkan-sen bullet train line also began operating in March.

    The dolphins observed in the bay are small Pacific white-sided types, which are usually found in cool waters.

    According to Mutsu Bay Ferry, which operates between the Tsugaru and Shimokita peninsulas on either side of the bay, dolphin-watching has been taking place from almost 90 per cent of ferries since May.

    This is about twice the rate of a typical year.

    As awareness spread online and through word of mouth about the unusually high chance of encountering dolphins, there has been a rise in passengers taking the ferries, the company said.

    According to Aomori University Professor Shigeto Ki-yokawa, who studies dolphins inhabiting Mutsu Bay, the mammals that stop by the bay - which is sheltered from large waves - are on their way north to pursue sardine shoals.