Tag Archives: Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Whale Watching Season Has Begun

Friend and colleague, Carol ‘Krill’ Carson, of New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance has posted a blog to Wicked Local with exciting news about yesterday’s whale watch in Massachusetts Bay.  The boat went out to the waters of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), which has been listed as one of the 10 best whale watching sites on the planet.  Whether they leave from Provincetown, Barnstable, Plymouth, Boston or Gloucester, whale watch companies all motor out to the SBNMS.  Yesterday’s whale watchers got to see six different species of cetacean, including the highly endangered North Atlantic right whale (NARW).

Since regulations call for keeping a distance of 500 yards from the NARW, it’s a rarity to get such a close up look from a whale watch boat. WW boats must stay 100 yards away from all other marine mammal species. So, what all whale watchers hope for is that the whales and dolphins swim up to the boat, so they can all get a close look.

If you’re interested in seeing the NARW up close, you may be better served driving out to Plymouth or Provincetown to view them from the beach. Sometimes they come in quite close, much closer than 500 yards.  The  Face-ing Extinction: The North Atlantic Right Whale Facebook page is reporting that 68 North Atlantic right whales were seen in Cape Cod Bay yesterday. That’s the most ever for one day.

On a related note…

We thank NECWA, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, NOAA Northeast Regional Office, author/artist Peter Stone and the NBWM High School Apprentices for putting on a great Right Whale Day here at the Museum on Monday, April 15.  It was a great way for nearly 350 people to start their vacation week and learn about the right whale.


“Whale Alert” app Available to Mariners

Whale Alert screen view. Image provided by NOAA.

One of the hottest whale-related stories on the internet involves a new iPad and iPhone app that has been created to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale.  NOAA has teamed up with a variety of partners to develop an application, available for free, that provides near real-time information about the location of NARWs within the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary and the shipping lanes of Boston. The application also provides information on conservation measures in the areas that the ships are transiting.

This a clever, well-thought method to protect a species with a population number hovering between 450-500 individuals. It makes excellent use of new technology and research to provide all necessary information to those who ply our coastal waters to make their living, it assists sanctuary managers in knowing the movements of whales within the sanctuary, and it does so at no cost to mariners.

The other hot story involves a potential substitute for the ambrein that is removed from ambergris. Ambrein is a prized compound for use in perfumes. That will be tomorrow’s blog.

New Film Added to Right Whale Celebration Day

Hot on the heels of its premiere last night at the New England Aquarium, the new movie Ocean Frontiers: The Dawn of a New Era in Ocean Stewardship, will be hosted by the New Bedford Whaling Museum in the Cook Memorial Theater on Monday afternoon, April 16, 2:00pm, as a fitting finale to a day of free activities focused on the North Atlantic Right Whale.  This film features four success stories of collaboration among seemingly disparate partners to protect our ocean resources.

Of the most interest to us here in Massachusetts, was the multi-year effort to get the shipping lanes in Boston Harbor shifted to lessen by 81% the likelihood that right whales would get hit by ships.  Led by Dr. David Wiley of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, researchers, shippers, regulators and conservation organizations pulled together to protect this critically endangered species.  Staff from the SBNMS will be here as Right Whale Day participants, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the designation of the Sanctuary.  They will introduce the film at 2:00.

To borrow directly from the press release “From the troubled waters now rises a new wave of hope, of prosperity through preservation, playing out in communities across the country and intimately captured in the new film by Green Fire Productions, OCEAN FRONTIERS.” This 80 minute film is free to the general public.

For more information about the film or about Right Whale Day call Science Director Robert Rocha at (508) 717-6849 or email rrocha@whalingmuseum.org