Center for Coastal Studies image under NOAA permit #14603-1
Posted Jan. 8, 2016 at 4:32 PM
Updated Jan 8, 2016 at 4:39 PM
DENNIS — An aerial survey team from the Center for Coastal Studies spotted two rare and endangered North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay on Thursday, according to a statement from the center. It was the first confirmed sighting of right whales in the bay this winter.
The bay is one of the several critical habitats of right whales, according to the statement.
Center scientists have been studying right whales in the bay since 1976 and aerial surveys are taken weekly between December and May. Large concentrations of zooplankton, a food source for the whales, have brought about half of the North Atlantic’s estimated population of 526 whales to the bay each winter for the past six years, the statement says.
Center research teams plan to be on the water and in the sky to continue to document the whales and compare current data with that of previous years, according to the statement.
Boaters are urged to keep a sharp lookout for right whales. Federal law prohibits people from coming within 500 yards of a right whale.
Right whale sightings may be reported to NOAA Fisheries at 866-755-6622.