Right Whale Advisory Issued for Waters off Provincetown

Photo/NOAA

The Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies have documented a large and stable aggregation of endangered North Atlantic right whales around Provincetown. A High Risk Advisory is being issued due to the number of whales, their behavior, their proximity to shore and the abundance of zooplankton in the area.

…we expect that this aggregation of whales will persist for several more days to perhaps
a week.

Approximately 30 whales were seen subsurface and surface feeding within 500 yards of the beach, from Race Point to Long Point. Dense concentrations of zooplankton at the surface and just below the surface are attracting the whales to this area.

Map of high risk area.

Whales that are surface and subsurface feeding are often difficult to see and at great risk for vessel strike. Vessel strike is a major cause of human-induced mortality for right whales. For the safety of both mariners and whales, vessel operators in this area are strongly urged to proceed with caution, reduce speed (less than 10 knots), and post lookouts to avoid colliding with this highly endangered whale.

Based on zooplankton resources collected on March 19, we expect that this aggregation of whales will persist for several more days to perhaps a week. This advisory will be lifted when right whales depart the area.

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