Ocean Frontiers: Saving Whales at Stellwagen Bank

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is a rich stretch of ocean at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay. It is home to several species of endangered whales including humpback whales and North Atlantic right whales. There are only an estimated 350-550 right whales remaining in the world.

The shipping lanes of Boston Harbor traverse through the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, bringing large ships through whale feeding grounds, resulting in deadly collisions.

Taking cues from the great whales’ travel ways, their sounds and whale song, shipping executives, marine biologists, the Port of Boston and an energy company came together and found a solution that worked for both commerce and whales. In 2007, the collaborative work of these ‘unlikely allies’ resulted in the first port in the nation, the Port of Boston, to move the shipping lanes to protect marine mammals—reducing the risk of ship strikes to endangered right whales and other large whale species by more than 80%.

In their on-going efforts, the collaborators recently released an exciting, new iPhone/iPad application called WhaleALERT. WhaleALERT is designed to augment existing ship navigation tools informing mariners of the safest and most current information to reduce the risk of ship and right whale collisions along the Eastern seaboard.

Learn more from the people featured in Ocean Frontiers

Video Clips