Rite of Spring, Right Whales Return to Vineyard Waters

Aerial surveys conducted last week spotted a large group of North Atlantic right whales in the ocean south of the Vineyard. Mariners are asked to use caution while the critically endangered whales are present.

Right Whales Spotted, Mariners Asked to Use Caution

Federal officials warn mariners that North Atlantic right whales have been spotted in the ocean south of the Vineyard, and a voluntary vessel restriction zone has been temporarily put in place to protect the endangered mammals.

The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Association said 10 right whales were spotted south of the two Islands on Feb. 24.

Mariner Advisory Issued for Right Whales

Following the sighting of critically endangered right whales last week, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration has announced a voluntary speed reduction zone for vessels in a large area surrounding the Vineyard and Nantucket.

Speed Restrictions to Protect Right Whales Are Working, Scientists Say

Notifying speeding sailors that regulations are in place to protect North Atlantic right whales has been effective in protecting the endangered whales from ship collisions, a new study by NOAA has found.

Speed Limits to Protect Right Whales Become Permanent

Announced Monday, the news from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was hailed as a boost to protection efforts for the critically endangered right whales.

Floating Finback Whale Discovered Near Noman's Land

A dead juvenile finback whale was found floating in the ocean between the Vineyard and Noman’s Land last Friday.

David Damroth, a Chilmark resident, said he spotted the whale from a hill above Squibnocket Beach. He later took his boat out on the water and got a closer look at the animal, which was largely intact, he said. The only marks he saw were from scavenging seagulls.

Right Whales Spotted North of Oak Bluffs; Mariners Urged Caution

Mariners are being urged to proceed with caution through the waters of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket following the probable sighting Sunday of three right whales north of Oak Bluffs.

The whales were spotted two and three miles offshore, said Tim Cole, a fisheries biologist with the National Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.

Less than 450 Atlantic right whales are known to be in existence, making them one of the most endangered marine mammals in this area.

Two Right Whales Observed off Menemsha Coast

Normally, the Coast Guard is on the lookout for mariners in distress. But on Sunday crew members aboard a 270-foot cutter stationed in Portsmouth, Va. spotted a more welcome sight: two right whales swimming northwest of Menemsha in Vineyard Sound.

The sighting was made at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Dozens of Rare Whales Gather off South Beach

About 20 North Atlantic right whales were spotted south and southeast of the Vineyard on Tuesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirmed. This is the second report of right whales seen near the Vineyard in a month.

On Feb. 15 six right whales were seen from the air halfway between the Vineyard and Nantucket. On the same day two more whales were seen swimming south of Nantucket.

Soundings

They come for the sun, sea and rich plankton that occurs in the ocean waters around the Island. This is the season when North Atlantic right whales migrate north to Cape Cod from their wintering grounds off Florida and Georgia. Last month eight of the endangered marine mammals were spotted near the Vineyard and Nantucket. Six were seen from the air swimming between the two Islands; the other two were seen south of Nantucket. Then early this week, twenty whales were seen swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off South Beach in Edgartown.

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