Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Sanctuary Modifies Ocean Count in 2022 Due to COVID

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Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary will be running a modified Ocean Count program for 2022, the organization announced Friday, Jan. 14. The 2022 Ocean Counts are scheduled for the following Saturdays: Jan. 29, Feb. 26, and March 26.

Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, the sanctuary is running a modified program without the normal participation of volunteers for the first event of the 2022 season. Instead, each site will be monitored by trained site leaders working individually or as a couple for the Jan. 29 event.

For the February and March events conditions may allow for a small number of general volunteers to participate along with trained site leaders. This will be dependent on multiple factors including, but not limited to, state/county guidelines, site access permissions, and safety of all participants. A decision will be made by Feb. 15 and March 15 on whether general volunteer participation for those months will be approved.

For more information on the Ocean Count project and how to support, please visit


Ocean Count promotes public awareness about humpback whales, Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, and shore-based whale watching opportunities. Site leaders tally humpback whale sightings and document the animals’ surface behavior during the survey, which provides a snapshot of humpback whales activity from the shorelines of O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Hawai‘i islands. Ocean Count is supported by the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.

The Great Whale Count by Pacific Whale Foundation, a similar effort on Maui, will also be running a modified program in 2022. More information on Pacific Whale Foundation’s Great Whale Count can be found here.


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