‘Absolutely epic’ — orcas play ‘footy’ with sunfish at Bremer Canyon in rare display of feeding behaviour

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An orca striking a juvenile sunfish.
Camera IconAn orca striking a juvenile sunfish. Credit: Machi Yoshida onboard Naturaliste Charters

It’s footy, but not as we know it.

Naturaliste Charters crew and passengers were treated to a rare spectacle at the Bremer Canyon on January 21, when orcas started launching fish out of the water, presumably to make them easier to eat.

Onboard marine biologist Pia Markovic described it as a game of “fish footy”, with juvenile sunfish being used as the ball.

Onboard marine biologist Pia Markovic said it was an “absolutely epic show”.
Camera IconOnboard marine biologist Pia Markovic said it was an “absolutely epic show”. Credit: Machi Yoshida onboard Naturaliste Charters

“With a sunfish flicked out of the water, then body-slammed seconds later, it was no doubt consumed by the hungry orcas,” she said.

“Small oil slicks were appearing left and right as more orca scored.

“They were tail-slapping the surface to potentially stun prey — or out of the water the fish came, with an orca following directly behind.

“The fish weren’t safe in or out of the water.

“It was an absolutely epic show and one that will not be forgotten by the crew or passengers any time soon.”

The Bremer Canyon is a hot spot for orcas.
Camera IconThe Bremer Canyon is a hot spot for orcas. Credit: Machi Yoshida onboard Naturaliste Charters

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