Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Division of Marine Fisheries
251 Causeway Street, Suite 400
Boston, MA 02114
Fax (617) 626.1509
May 14, 2007
RIGHT WHALE AGGREGATION DEPARTS RACE POINT AREA –
Advisory to Mariners Lifted
Recent survey efforts by the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) and the Division of Marine Fisheries (MarineFisheries) have determined that the large aggregation of right whales observed off Provincetown and Truro have departed. With the departure of these animals the Commonwealth is lifting the April 25 and May 5th advisories to mariners in the Race Point area. MarineFisheries would like to thank fishermen, whale watch companies, and others for their assistance and compliance with measures designed to protect this highly endangered animal.
MarineFisheries monitors the presence of right whales in Cape Cod Bay through aerial surveys, habitat sampling, and acoustic monitoring. Sightings observed through these efforts allow MarineFisheries to address threats to right whales on a real-time basis. No right whales have been sighted recently from aircraft or boat, and habitat monitoring revealed a decline in the zooplankton resource, suggesting that right whale aggregations are not likely to return in the near future. The zooplankton resource remains patchy, but it is possible that the occasional right whale will be seen feeding in the outer near-shore region for 3-5 days. Mariners should remain on the lookout for any lingering right whale activity. We greatly appreciate the diligence and alertness of mariners and our surveillance team during the 2007 season.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries) issues warnings to mariners and others through the Northern Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (SAS). Advisories regarding Cape Cod Bay and surrounding waters can be viewed at the NOAA Fisheries Northeast Region web site (http://www.nero.noaa.gov/ro/doc/whale.htm) and are broadcast over NOAA weather radio (http:// 184.108.40.206/nwr/).
For more information, contact MarineFisheries’ Erin Burke at (978.551.0152), visit the MarineFisheries website at http://www.mass.gov/marinefisheries or contact the Center for Coastal Studies’ (CCS) Dr. Charles (Stormy) Mayo at (508.487.3623), visit CCS online at www.coastalstudies.org.