After many years of research the question remains ‘Why do the Orca’s come to Bremer Canyon?’
The answer in one word is… SQUID!
We have discovered that the Orca’s do not tend to stray too far from the area right throughout the year with regular sightings of the same pods that congregate here each and every year from the local fisherman over the last 40 years.
It is recognised that the Canyons (not just Bremer, but also Hood, Henry & Knob Canyon) create a topography that collides with currents from the north Leeuwin and the Antartic southern currents from the south which along with water temperature, sunlight and fertilised water columns from known gas ‘leaks’, the environment is ripe for phytoplankton to develop and the baseline of the food chain commences.
Tuna are on the migration from eastern waters and transverse through the canyons feeding on the krill which is eating the phytoplankton.Tests on the Tuna have found abundant quantities of krill in their stomachs and top of the Giant Squid’s menu is the Tuna.
The Orca are hunting the Squid as they hunt the Tuna, also there are local Cod patches that the Squid also like to frequent. The Orca are known to also feed on the Tuna but ahead of them on the diet are the Squid.
The Bremer Canyon Orca have been known to take opportunistic advantage on other Cetaceans in the region including Beaked Whales and also Sealions have been found to be in the wrong place at the wrong time which tends to categorise these Orca’s as generalists hunters but essentially the Squid are the diet of choice.
Evidence of both Giant and Colossal Squid have been found in the canyons and as early as this season we have photographic evidence of Squid defensive marks on both the Orca and Sperm Whales in the canyons.
Gravitational pull of the moon and tidal currents will also play into the environment but quite simply the food source has many mitigating factors of why they are here (food source) but the Orca are here for that food source… SQUID!
There is more to learn from our Pod Partners as they teach us daily more about their families and their home in the Bremer Canyon.
Non Watermark Photo Credits – Unknown