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Conservation of whales in Massachusetts
Adult Northern Right Whale with calf.
Adult Northern Right Whale with calf. Photo by NOAA NMFS

Cape Cod Bay

Cape Cod Bay is a globally important area for Northern Right Whales. It has a dependable source of zooplankton that the whales feed on. On any given mid-winter day, up to 25% of the 500 individuals that represent the entire species may be feeding in Cape Cod Bay. Their leading causes of mortality are ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. However, great strides have been made to reduce both of these threats.

Stellwagen Bank

One of the top ten whale watching areas in the world is off the Massachusetts coast in Stellwagen Bay. Humpback Whales are the greatest draw because of their tolerance for whale watching boats and their acrobatic behavior, including breeching, flipper flapping, and sky-hopping. Fin Whales and Minke Whales are also frequently seen. Less often seen are Sei Whales, Blue Whales, and Sperm Whales. These species also suffer from ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement, but are benefiting from the work being done to help the Northern Right Whale.