24 right whales sighted south of Martha’s Vineyard


An aerial survey team from the New England Aquarium has detected a number of North Atlantic right whales south of Martha’s Vineyard, prompting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to enact “slow zones” for marine vessels in the area. 

According to an aerial survey report by the New England Aquarium, 10 general survey tracklines detected 24 right whales, in pods of varying sizes, on Friday, March 10. 

“North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. If seen, remember that approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law,” NOAA stated in a press release issued Monday. “Right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and scientists estimate there are fewer than 350 right whales remaining.”

Charles (“Stormy”) Mayo with the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown says that it’s not unusual to see large groups of whales in a certain area, although 24 might be a little larger than is typical for the area south of the Vineyard. “It’s not unusual, but it’s always special when you see them,” Mayo said.

An aerial team with the Center for Coastal Studies spotted 40 right whales in Cape Cod Bay on Monday, and Mayo says the aerial team only covered half of the bay because of the weather. Another 36 right whales have been seen feeding south of Nantucket, as well.

Mayo said that spotting this many whales in the area is not an indication of hope for the critically endangered whale. All of the whales recently seen have already been identified.

The right whale slow zones — a recommended maximum speed of 10 knots — will be in effect until March 25. 


  1. Ok so close the area to lobster fishing but let the Dutch owned company orsted pile drive and sonar blast the area that have killed 25 whales in three months

    • John –Vineyard Wind –Based out of New Bedford ,Ma. USA,– is owned by Avangrid renewables–Based in Portland Or. USA.
      Yes the Dutch owned company Orsted owns a part of it.
      Anheuser Bush, which produces some of America’s favorite beer is headquartered in Leuven Belgium.
      So what ? Most products we purchase or use are at least in part manufactured or sourced in other countries. Welcome to the 21st century.
      But back to the whales…The 2 top known causes of deaths of Right Whales are ship strikes, and entanglement in fishing gear– in that order.
      Ships have been ordered to slow down, lobstering is restricted, and pile driving , or sonar blasts by wind companies are not permitted while this many whales are in the area.
      As far as your claim about Orsted pile driving operations killing whales, I can find nothing to indicate that Orsted has pile driven a single inch of monopole into the seafloor on the east coast of the U.S. Here is their latest update :
      I am not saying you are wrong– please show me…
      Also, an unusual number of whales have been beaching along the east coast this year–
      But, in my opinion, there is nothing but hysterical speculation from anti wind groups to even remotely indicate that anything from any wind project is responsible for it.
      Again– show me some proof of your assertion–
      Please take the time to read this– it’s not that long..

      I feel it is important to have a rational debate about the rapidly expanding off shore wind industry. I think it is safe to say that we all care about the fate of the whales and the health of our marine environment.
      It’s a complicated issue–carbon emissions affecting the PH , and rising temperatures can affect the marine environment, and certainly pile driving and sonar blasts do also– but let’s try to keep to the facts–
      Oersted is NOT responsible for the deaths of 25 whales– come on, man.

      • well said. There’s a bunch of newly-minted ‘save the whales’ fake activists recently trying to scare folks about wind power.

        The only impact these folks have over the past decade is to guarantee that what eventually gets installed is TWICE the size of what they would have had without their bogus ‘environmental reviews’ to delay the projects.

      • The only reason they have not been blamed is because they have noaa payed off 25 beached whales in three months where nothing has changed besides offshore wind development seems strange noaas statements are bogus the wind turbines mess with tides winds and pump out hot water from cooling from research in the uk they actually rase the surface temps around them there is nothing green about them you said vineyard wind isn’t orsted but orsted is invested in them or partners same scum to me the biggest oil and gas company in the world is doing something called greenwashing wake up

      • Those whales were humpback whales not right whales and in the absence of no essential changes in the environment other than windmill preparation it is not silly to assume that windpower is a threat to right whales. It is ironic that years ago when we did not have climate hysteria we would protect the Tennessee snail darter which mutates 40 times from dam development. Now that climate change is front and center we wont go to extreme lengths to protect species. Climate or whales take your pick. Occam’s razor theory says the whales are harmed by wind power. This is an opinion site is it not?

      • We are proving that these wind farms will directly impact the migration, feeding and possibly breeding habitat of the endangered Right Whale which is directly counter to the MMPA. How can with directly effect this habitat when we do not know how it will effect propagation of the species.

    • What are the dates and locations of the whale deaths?
      How many were killed by sonar?
      By pile drivers?
      Would you feel better if the whales were killed by general electric?

      • No I wouldn’t I also would like for these billon dollar companies to stop lobbying against the fishing industry and blaming us for everything when where these whales are dying no one is lobstering whatizem is a weak stance

    • It is good to see people suggesting that fishing boat sonar and depth/fish finders are hazardous to whales. You are for banning offshore fishing?

      • I run a 400w transducer with an angle beam when it hits the bottom of no more than 20feet wide there blasting nearly 100 times the watts with a down angle and side and forward beams of about a 100yards when it hits the bottom at around a 180khz frequency

  2. Ok, so why is N.O.A.A. as well as the New England Aquarium teams out there watching our shores and wildlife all seem to be on board with the Wind Turbine concerns having a “license to kill” any marine mammal, in a given number (limits species by species) that, using their terminology, “harasses” their work areas ? Who signed off on this one, as we keep hearing about just so many Right Whales being left in the world. Were any of the reported 25 killed part of that dwindling group? Do you know why they were called “Right Whales”? Back in the day, they were the species that were friendliest and not shy from Hunters; and when they could injure, not kill, a youngster, they would lash it close up to their ships so when it called for help the adults would come to it’s aid and become targets for the Whalers’ harpoons. So what are we doing here? Is a wind turbine footing construction and eventual towers the new “attractant” to these gentle giants ? Were those 25 just Minke or Humpbacks or baby Finbacks ? What happens when one of the armed “hunters” protecting the work area is killed in service of his or her duties ? Will they be called “hero” ? Will the suspected Whale have to be “euthanized” to protect the other contractors because the dumb animal might come back for more of them ? I want to know which one is the “dumb animal”.
    We belong to the Ocean, the Ocean does not belong to us.
    We should be it’s protector not it’s prospector.

  3. Thank you for considering this comment, my earlier spouting was in the middle of my work day and not as well spoken. The last 3 or more off shore wind attempts have all gone down in sequence. Raise money, get matching grants, then eventually over a few years, fold their operation, most likely burn their investors and our tax dollars invested via the grants and move on to the next meal. This time we can least legally kill some of the habitants of the “job site”. It’s our own little “Avatar” . . . . no Academy award.

      • I think he is talking about wind projects being delayed and cancelled due to rising costs and poor returns and also about windmills falling down all over the world including the US. He is citing tax benefits at 30 percent which when they end causes some to fold up their tent and stop the project. One project in MA was put on “pause” last year due to rising costs.

        • What percentage of wind turbines have fallen down?
          More than the percentage of airplanes?
          Oil drilling rigs?

    • Thank you Tom. I agree, and we are not going to build our way out of the mess we’ve made, so let’s leave the threatened whales in peace,

    • It should, but unfortunately NOAA has issued permits to these companies to allow them to interfere with their breeding, feeding and migration patterns.
      Unfortunately, many people don’t know about these incidental take permits or incidental harassment authorization permits.

      • Jason–there was a comment on the morning of Feb 8th , where the author confused the meaning of the word “take” to mean “kill”.
        That author used the word “kill” and implied rather directly that NOAA had authorized the killing of 20 North American Right Whales. Nothing could be further from the truth.  
        As I explained in my letter to the editor, there are different levels of “incidental harassment”.
        There are consequences to animals and the natural environment in nearly every construction project humans do. If a house is being constructed near a salt marsh, and the nail guns and fork lifts cause the nearby geese to move to another area, that is part of the environmental impact. That means the developer is guilty of “level B harassment” It does not mean the geese are being “killed”.
        When I pulled the permit to build my house, there was nothing to prevent me from killing squirrels or rabbits, or totally destroy their habitat. Noaa is putting severe restrictions in place for the protection of creatures and their habitat in the area of this construction.
        In my opinion , that should not provoke criticism of the agency.
        To me, it demonstrates the commitment they have to protecting marine life.
        This is the same agency that is trying to prevent Holtec from dumping over a million gallons of radioactive waste water into cape Cod bay.
        Give it a break– everybody is doing their best to mitigate the harm to the marine environment.
        Perhaps if Americans ever got over the idea that they are somehow entitled to simply waste all the electricity they want, build ,heat and cool unoccupied gigantic houses, keep their swimming pools at 85 degrees all winter in case they want to fly in with their private jet from their chateau in the Swiss alps and have lunch and a quick dip in the pool before jetting back it might reduce the need for these machines.
        But it not only applies to the rich— the hard working tough construction guys who don’t want their hard working posterior’s to get cold for a few seconds could shut their diesel Ram 350’s off while they go into the package store to get their scratch tickets, a 6 pack of their favorite beer (from a company owned by a company in Denmark), and their nip for the ride home.
        Yeah, it could all help.
        In the meantime– they are going in if you like it or not.

  4. How are we allowing the direct impact of habitat of an endangered species. We are showing this area to be in migration, feeding and possibly breeding areas of the Right Whale. We do not have any clue how the surveying, laying of cables and building of turbines with impact them long term.

    I guess the whale holds ZERO importance when the money talks

  5. Two questions relative to the Vineyard Wind project. 1. It is clear that the project is endangering a number of species. We know that. But the project is supposed to cause Co2 to fall and provide electricity from the wind that will also be more economical. And so the questions are how many species are being affected and what are they, and when the project is done will electricity rates increase, or decrease?

    The latter question is a serious concern because Vineyard Wind requested to withdraw from the project because it was not financially viable and they wanted more money. It was denied. But they are going ahead with the project. And so the money has to come from somewhere. Already the rates are incredibly high. What is the answer to that question?

Comments are closed.