Aquarium Scientists Spot Rare Whale And Calf At Marine Monument As Care Plan Takes Shape

Photo of an adult sperm whale and calf spotted at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts National Monument, courtesy of the New England Aquarium

BOSTON – Scientists with the New England Aquarium are celebrating the sighting of an endangered sperm whale and calf at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument.

The spotting was the first of its kind since aerial surveys began six years ago at the 5,000 square mile preserve, and accompanied the sighting of over 320 other marine mammals including 117 bottlenose dolphins, four fin whales, 27 Risso’s dolphins, 15 sunfish, and one True’s beaked whale.

“As scientists who have flown aerial surveys for years, we never take for granted how exciting it is to see whales, sharks, and dolphins in the wild, particularly an endangered sperm whale calf,” said research technician Sharon Hsu, who works with the Aquarium. “It’s a reminder of the rich biodiversity of animals that use the Monument.”

The sightings come as the aquarium submits public comments to NOAA and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to draft a sustainable management plan for the monument, including renewable sources of funding for public outreach and, monitoring and managing human activity such as shipping and fishing, and coordinating research efforts and data collection for ongoing efforts to protect the critical conservation area.

Located approximately 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, the monument was designated by former President Barack Obama in 2016 and remains the only marine national monument in the United States Atlantic waters, containing some of the highest marine mammal diversity along the eastern seaboard.

In the letter sent to the USFWS and NOAA, the Aquarium reaffirmed its oath to continue its work advocating for the protection of the monument.

About Matthew Tomlinson

Matt Tomlinson is a Cape Cod native studying to be a documentarian. He has been with the NewsCenter since 2021.
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