The Center for Coastal Studies has issued a note of caution with regard to boating in Cape Cod Bay. An increasingly high concentrations of plankton, food for endangered North Atlantic right whales, has a resulted a high concentration of whales in the bay. It presents a risk to both mariners and whales.
Right whale activities in the bay have been dominated by near-surface feeding behavior. This presents a particularly high risk for vessel collisions because the animals spend long periods of time just beneath the surface – shallow enough to be struck by vessels passing overhead, but too deep to be visible to mariners. Among the whales are five right whale mothers with nursing newborn calves. The less-agile calves are particularly vulnerable to vessel collision throughout the southwestern quadrant of Cape Cod Bay.
Boaters are urged to exercise caution, to slow to 10 knots, and to stand watch throughout the Bay until the whale aggregation disperses.
The center, in collaboration with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries will continue to monitor and update information on the conditions in the bay and the distribution of the whales.