Pacific Whale Foundation has undertaken the Great Whale Count for the past 30 years. It is one of the world’s longest running cetacean projects involving citizen-scientists.

Citizen science is becoming a widespread tool for ecological and environmental monitoring, engaging members of the public, and promoting environmental stewardship. This systematic counting method allows us to monitor changes in humpback whale sightings from year to year and provides a valuable long-term snapshot of Hawaii’s humpback whale population.

The annual Great Whale Count brings volunteers together to count whales from shore as part of a long-term survey of humpback whales in Hawaii. This event provides a snapshot of trends in relative abundance of whales and is one of the world’s longest-running citizen scientist projects.

There are 12 survey sites along the shoreline of Maui, offering a chance to spend time at a favorite spot or to explore a new part of the island. Participants receive a brief training from a Site Leader in the morning and then spend half a day counting whales and observing behaviors during timed scans. Site Leaders record data from their volunteers throughout the event. Our research team tallies the results from all the sites and releases the numbers immediately following the count. 


2018 Results

The research team presents the results from the 2018 Great Whale Count aboard the VIP whalewatch: Great Whale Count Results cruise

Previous Great Whale Counts


Support a Great Cause

All proceeds from the event support Pacific Whale Foundation's humpback whale research in Hawaii and other parts of the Pacific, marine education programs for local school children, as well as conservation programs including efforts to keep marine debris out of our oceans, prevent vessel-whale collisions, and end whaling worldwide.


January 25, February 29 and March 28.
Maui Shoreline


Become a Sponsor

Sponsorship has many benefits and can be customized to suit company goals.