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NOAA RIGHT WHALE SIGHTING ADVISORY SYSTEM

This map should not be used for management purposes as detections are not effort corrected. Please report all right whale sightings from Virginia to Maine to 866-755-6622, and from Florida to North Carolina to 877-WHALE-HELP. Right whale sightings in any location may also be reported to the U.S. Coast Guard via channel 16 or through the WhaleAlert app available through the Apple Store and Google Play. For more information, please visit the NOAA Reducing VEssel Strikes website.

Turn map features on and off in the layer menu (layer icon in upper right corner of map frame). Click on the map symbols for more information on each item (tan box = right whale Slow Zone, red box = Seasonal Management Area). Or, go straight to a more fully interactive version with additional information layers.

Be aware that North Atlantic right whales live off the eastern U.S. and Canada. NOAA Fisheries conducts surveys to track right whales. Despite these efforts, and the efforts of external partners, the exact whereabouts of much of the population is unknown for most of the year. However, right whales are likely to be present in active Seasonal Management Areas, and in Dynamic Management Areas and Slow Zones for weeks following the initial sightings or acoustic detections that triggered the management area or slow zone. The absence of sightings or acoustic detections in a particular area does NOT indicate an absence of right whales there. Researchers are not able to survey everywhere all the time, and even with survey effort in an area, right whales can go undetected.

Right whales are protected under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and Endangered Species Act (ESA). All take (e.g., mortality, injury, harassment, etc.) of right whales is prohibited by federal law unless otherwise authorized, and it is illegal for any person to approach a right whale within 500 yards (1,500 feet) by water (vessel, surfboard, kayak, jet skis, etc.) or air (aircraft, including drones).

All mariners are urged to avoid locations where right whales have recently been sighted, and if already nearby a recent sighting, use caution and move away from the area at a safe speed (10 knots or less). These sightings data may not be appropriate for use in managing interactions with right whales. They should not be used as the primary or sole means for avoiding right whales, as they only represent locations where right whales were at one point in time. The use of these sightings data is not a replacement for additional measures that may be required under law. Most vessels 65 ft or greater in length are required by federal law to travel 10 knots or less in active Seasonal Management Areas, and all vessels are encouraged to avoid Dynamic Management Areas and Slow Zones when possible, and when not, transit at 10 knots or less in these areas.

Visit the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium for further information regarding data access >

See NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center Protected Species Branch website for more information on right whale surveys and partners >

For more information about WhaleMap see Johnson et al., (2021). WhaleMap: a tool to collate and display whale survey results in near real-time. >

Identify and report sightings of right whales >

Identify and report a dead whale >