North Atlantic Right Whale
(right whale illustration courtesy of Pieter Folkens, ©2011)
Interactive map of North Atlantic right whale sightings contributed to NOAA between 2002 and present. Click on a symbol for more information on each sighting. Use the + and - to zoom in and out. Sightings of other species can be seen on the OBIS website. When using this map to view current sightings please keep in mind:
- Because whales swim continuously, exact locations are obsolete within minutes of a sighting.
- A specific date or date range may contain few or no sightings. This does not mean right whales were not present. Approximately 500 right whales live along the eastern seaboard of the US for much of the year, but effort to find them is typically limited to seasonal whale watches or researchers dedicated to locating seasonal habitats. The whereabouts of most of the individuals in the population is unknown for much of the year.
- Right whales are likely to be present within Seasonal and Dynamic Management Areas even if no sightings are present.
Mariners are urged to use caution and proceed at safe speeds in areas where right whales occur. U.S. Law (50CF 224.105) prohibits operating vessels 65 feet (19.8 meters) or greater in excess of 10 knots in Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs) along the U.S. east coast. Mariners are also requested to route around voluntary speed reduction zones (Dynamic Management Areas—DMAs) or transit through them at 10 knots or less. Approaching right whales closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law. Please report all right whale sightings from Virginia to Maine to 866-755-6622, and from Florida to North Carolina to 877-WHALE-HELP. Right whale sightings in any location may also be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard via channel 16. For more information about ship strike reduction regulations, please visit: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike