Whale Passage, Prince of Wales Island

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Whale Passage is a water way about 10 miles (16 km) long, between the islands of Thorne and Prince of Wales, Alaska. The passage was named in 1886 by Lieutenant Commander A.S. Snow, of the U.S. Navy and first published in 1887 by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey.

The community of Whale Pass was originally a logging camp and was first recognized in 1980 as the community of North Whale Pass, before shortening the name to simply Whale Pass. The community is located on Prince of Wales Island and at the north end of Whale Passage.

A marine reserve was established in Whale Passage and fishing has been restricted for decades. The area has been closed so biologists can monitor the population abundance of sea cucumbers affected only by natural conditions like water temperature and salinity and not by fishing pressure. The monitoring effort helps biologists know if a population crash outside the reserve is due to overharvesting or variations in ocean conditions. Read more here and here. Click here to download the CoastView app and explore Whale Pass.