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North Atlantic Right Whale Sightings

Interactive map of North Atlantic right whale sightings.

The Right Whale Sighting Advisory System (WhaleMap) aims to reduce collisions between ships and endangered North Atlantic right whales by alerting mariners to their presence. The sighting information collected for the system is authorized under the OMB Control Number included in the Citizen Science & Crowdsourcing Information Collection page. We obtain it from a variety of sources such as aerial surveys, shipboard surveys, the U.S. Coast Guard, whale watch vessels, commercial ships, fishing vessels, and the general public. 

When using this map to view current right whale sightings, please keep in mind:

  • Because whales swim continuously, exact locations are obsolete within minutes of a sighting.
  • A specific date or date range may contain few or no sightings. This does not mean right whales were not present. The majority of the North Atlantic right whale population lives along the U.S. eastern seaboard for much of the year, but efforts to find them are typically limited to seasonal whale watches or researchers dedicated to locating seasonal habitats. The whereabouts of most of the individuals in the population is unknown for much of the year.
  • Right whales are likely to be present within Seasonal and Dynamic Management Areas even if no sightings are illustrated.

Mariners are urged to use caution and proceed at safe speeds in areas where right whales occur.

Citing WhaleMap

Please reference WhaleMap as follows:

Johnson H, Morrison D, Taggart C (2021). WhaleMap: a tool to collate and display whale survey results in near real-time. Journal of Open Source Software, 6(62), 3094, https://joss.theoj.org/papers/10.21105/joss.03094

Last updated by Northeast Fisheries Science Center on 06/04/2024

Right Whale