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Wondrous Whales: Whale Week 2022

February 14, 2022

Celebrate the wonder of whales! Find out more about NOAA's work to study, recover, and conserve these magnificent marine mammals.

Humpback whales bursting through the surface with mouths open to catch fish to eat. Humpback whales bursting through the surface with mouths open to catch fish to eat. Photo: A. Simonis/NOAA Fisheries
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Aerial view of blue whale in water
Blue whale. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/Peter Duley.

Join us as we celebrate Whale Week, February 14-18, 2022! Whales are among the largest and oldest animals on Earth. They can be found in every ocean and range in size from the small dwarf sperm whale to the massive blue whale, the largest animal on the planet. 

At NOAA Fisheries, we work to ensure the conservation and protection of all marine mammals. This Whale Week, explore whale science and conservation through the features and videos below.

Follow along on our NOAA Fisheries social media channels and stay tuned for more content throughout the week.

Tales of Whales: Whale Features

A Whale's World of Sound

Sound plays an essential role for marine species, and the ocean is getting noisier. NOAA works to understand and reduce the impacts of human-produced noise on whales.

Learn more about ocean noise and whales

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A western gray whale feeding in the Okhotsk Sea off northeastern Sakhalin Island, Russia
A western gray whale feeding in the Okhotsk Sea off northeastern Sakhalin Island, Russia in the proximity of offshore oil and gas platforms. Credit: Dave Weller, Southwest Fisheries Science Center.

Lose the Rope, Give Whales Hope

NOAA Fisheries is developing ropeless fishing gear to help prevent marine mammal entanglement off the coast of New England.

Learn more about ropeless fishing gear

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Biologist on a ship collecting data during buoyless lobster trap tests.
A Northeast Fisheries Science Center biologist collecting data during buoyless lobster trap tests.

Celebrate Whale Week with Us: A Message from Kim Damon-Randall, Director of NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources

Join us for a celebration of whales and the 50th anniversary of the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Read the leadership message

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North Pacific right whale #87 also known as “Smudgy” interacts with a log floating on the water. There are only around 30 individuals in the eastern population, so to spot a North Pacific right whale is rare and to see one interacting with a log in a once-in-a-lifetime experience. NOAA Fisheries permit 782-1719.

Flame: Juneau, Alaska’s Wildlife Superstar

Whale Week highlights a local favorite among whale watchers and the scientific community.

Learn more about Flame, the humpback whale 

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Flame, SEAK #1538, taken near Juneau, Alaska in 2007. NOAA Permit 14245)
Flame, SEAK #1538, taken near Juneau, Alaska in 2007. NOAA Permit 14245)

Rice's Whale Turns One: Here's What We're Learning

This year marks the first year the Rice’s whale has been recognized as a new species. Learn more about our ongoing comprehensive research.

Learn more about the rice's whale

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Rice's whale surfacing.
A Rice’s whale surfaces in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: NOAA Fisheries (NMFS ESA/MMPA Permit No. 14450).

Meet Jamie Thomton, Kauaʻi Marine Mammal Response Coordinator

Jamie talks about his path to NOAA, recounts a mission to disentangle a humpback whale, and explains what Whale Week means to him.

Meet Jamie Thomton and learn more about his work 

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Picture of Jamie Thomton on a beach in Jamie Thomton in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Jamie Thomton in the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

Whales and Climate Change: Big Risks to the Ocean's Biggest Species

Climate change is impacting ocean ecosystems and resulting in many challenges for a variety of marine species, including whales.

How climate change is affecting different whale species 

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Group of beluga whales, including a mother-calf pair in Cook Inlet, Alaska
Group of beluga whales, including a mother-calf pair in Cook Inlet, Alaska. Credit: NOAA Fisheries (NMFS MMPA/ESA permit 20465).

Fishermen Share Photos And Video Of Endangered North Pacific Right Whales Feeding In Alaska

Collaborative effort confirms two rare North Pacific right whales were among a large group of feeding whales.

Fishermen share photos and video of endangered North Pacific right whales feeding

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two north pacific right whales skimming the water surface
Two North Pacific right whales photographed by Josh Trosvig, captain of the cod the fishing vessel Cerulean

Encountering Giants: Inspiring Moments with Whales

Whales astonish us. Witnessing their behaviors has inspired careers in marine biology and energized action for ocean conservation. Many NOAA Fisheries scientists have had unique opportunities to spend time on and in the ocean, studying marine mammals like whales in their habitats. To celebrate Whale Week, we asked our staff to recall a favorite moment with these incredible and majestic creatures. 

Explore our scientists' inspiring moments with whales

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Humpback whale under rainbow
Humpback whale under rainbow. Credit: Shutterstock

Podcast: Checking In On Endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales

Learn the latest on endangered Southern Resident killer whales with Dr. Megan Wallen, a marine mammal specialist in NOAA Fisheries West Coast Protected Resources Division.

Listen to the podcast

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 Southern Resident killer whales encountered during NOAA's PODs (Pacific Orcinus Distribution Survey) in October 2021
Southern Resident killer whales encountered during NOAA's PODs (Pacific Orcinus Distribution Survey) in October 2021 near the west end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Video: Wondrous Whales

Love whales like we do? Check out these wonderful and various species of whales in the United States.

Video: Lose the Rope, Give Whales Hope

Ropeless or on-demand technologies offer a potential solution for whales and other protected species that can become entangled in traditional lobster traps and crab pots. Find out what ropeless is all about from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center gear research team!

Go Slow—Whales Below

You can help save endangered North Atlantic right whales by slowing down to 10 knots or less in waters where they are likely present.

Go Slow—Whales Below

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North Atlantic right whale mother and calf
North Atlantic right whale mother and calf. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Signs of Hope for the World’s Most Endangered Great Whale Population

Discovery of a juvenile—named “Phoenix”—renews hope for survival of the critically endangered eastern North Pacific right whale population.

Learn more about the newly discovered juvenile North Pacific right whale

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Photo of a North Pacific right whale at the surface.
North Pacific right whale. Credit: International Whaling Commission.

Whales: Did You Know?

5 Icebreakers About Bowhead Whales

Conversation starters about an Arctic whale.

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Bowhead whale with calf by its side swim between floating Arctic sea ice.
Bowhead whale and calf. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

Bowhead whale facts

11 Facts about Whales, Dolphins, and Porpoises

Marine mammals in the cetacean family include whales, dolphins, and porpoises. These animals are often referred to as “sentinels” of ocean health, providing insight into marine ecosystem dynamics. 

Cool facts about cetaceans

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Three finback whales at the water surface.
Finback whales. Credit: NOAA Fisheries

10 Wonderful Whale Facts

How much do you know about different species of whales? As we celebrate Whale Week, take a look at some interesting tidbits and see if you learn something new about these majestic creatures.

Check out 10 wonderful whale facts

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Humpback whale breaching. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.

Last updated by Office of Communications on February 18, 2022