Animals Video

By Katy Gill

This is the moment thousands of sea lions suddenly awoke from a slumber to disappear and feast on an annual herring spawn in their area.

Videographer and commercial diver Maxwel Hohn, 31, captured the stunning footage of miles and miles of water shaded with the dark clouds of newly hatched spawn, in Qualicum Bay, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, in March 2017.

The sea lions start to migrate to the waters around four months prior to the young spawn hatching – though they only spend around three days there once their feast begins.

Maxwel said: “The sea lions start to gather in the area in early December, and by the time the spawn hatch late March, thousands are gathered waiting.

“I had spent days with the sea lions – I even go diving with them.

“Though the seals are there for months in advance, the herring tend to hatch after 15 to 20 days from being spawned.”

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the natural mortality of the herring fish is extremely high, with around 50 to 70 percent falling victim to predation or disease.

Maxwel said: “It was incredible to watch – miles and miles of the ocean front changed colour as so much life gathered to enjoy the spawn.

“Rafts of sea lions, seagulls, eagles, orcas and humpbacks whales are in attendance.”