Rare North Atlantic Right Whales Return to Cape Cod Bay

Center for Coastal Studies image NOAA permit #14603-1.

Center for Coastal Studies image NOAA permit #14603-1.

PROVINCETOWN – The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown spotted the first right whales of the winter season in Cape Cod Bay last week.

On Thursday, an aerial survey team saw the whales in Cape Cod Bay, just north of Dennis. Cape Cod Bay is one of several critical habitats where right whales are known to reside.

The center’s aerial surveys take place weekly throughout the December – May season.

They’ve shown on average, that almost one-half of the total estimated population of 526 North Atlantic right whales have congregated in the Bay each winter and spring during the last 6 years.

The whales are drawn by dense concentrations of the zooplankton upon which they feed. Research teams will be on the water throughout the winter looking for the animals.

Comparisons of data from previous years should eventually allow center scientists to document ongoing changes in the whales’ critically important habitat.

Experts say right whales are at risk for interactions with vessels so mariners are urged to keep a sharp lookout and remember that federal law states it is illegal to approach a right whale within 500 yards (1,500 feet).

If you have a confirmed sighting of right whale please report it to NOAA Fisheries (866-755-6622) or the U.S. Coast Guard (Marine Channel 16).

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director


About CapeCod.com NewsCenter

The award-winning CapeCod.com NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local news. We are on the job seven days a week.

Speak Your Mind


737 West Main Street
Hyannis, MA 02601
Contact Us | Advertise Terms of Use 
Employment and EEO | Privacy