Historic Range of North Pacific Right Whales
Before right whales in the North Pacific were heavily exploited by commercial whalers, concentrations were found in the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Aleutian Islands, south-central Bering Sea, Sea of Okhotsk, and Sea of Japan.
During 1965-99, following illegal catches by the Soviets, there were only 82 sightings of right whales in the entire eastern North Pacific, with the majority of these occurring in the Bering Sea and adjacent areas of the Aleutian Islands.
Sightings have been reported as far south as central Baja California in the eastern North Pacific, as far south as Hawaii in the central North Pacific, and as far north as the sub-Arctic waters of the Bering Sea and Sea of Okhotsk in the summer.
Migratory patterns of the North Pacific whales are unknown, although it is thought the whales migrate from high-latitude feeding grounds in summer to more temperate waters during the winter, possibly offshore. No calving grounds have been found in the eastern North Pacific. Northern Right Whale adults are about 17 m long and can weigh up to 100 tons. Females are larger than males.