The hatcheries of southeast Alaska spend months raising juvenile salmon until they're ready for life on their own in the wide-open ocean. 

The big day comes, the young fish are released, and they're ... immediately eaten by a hungry whale that's been waiting for this exact moment. A study published Tuesday in Royal Society Open Science found humpback whales have learned they can gorge on waves of salmon if they hang out around hatcheries during the times fish are released. 

The study started after a humpback whale was caught on video feeding near a hatchery in 2008. "This is a new source of prey, as far as we can tell," study author Ellen Chenoweth tells the New York Times.

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