By José Antonio Pérez / Shandra Keesecker-Rivero
Whale watching season in the area, as authorized by the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT), officially runs from January 1 – April 30, 2020. The whales, however, have only recently been spotted within reasonable travel distance from Puerto Peñasco according to a smattering of local tour companies. In the past, whales near Puerto Peñasco have been spotted as early as December though generally more toward early February.
Puerto Peñasco Harbormaster Luis Castro Galan urges all officially licensed tourist boats, of which there are approximately between 40 and 50, to respect established protocols to avoid disturbing the whales and potentially putting their passengers at risk.
The Harbormaster reminded everyone that last September, Puerto Peñasco became the very first tourist destination in Sonora officially recognized for whale watching activities, as published in the Official Journal of the Federation. This means that whale watching is now an officially licensed practice, provided respect for all rules and regulations.
The most commonly spotted whales in the area are the fin whale, which is the second largest whale in the world, as well as humpback whales, which are the fifth largest.