Once driven nearly to extinction, the second-largest animals of all time have recently been spotted in big numbers in the Southern Ocean, competing directly with industrial trawlers for prey, according to research led by scientists from Stanford University and Lindblad Expeditions.

Published Feb. 20 in Ecology, the study focuses on scientists’ sighting of an enormous “supergroup” of fin whales foraging for shrimplike animals called krill northwest of the South Orkney Islands in January 2022, with four commercial fishing vessels trawling among them for the same tiny creatures.

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