The Marine Resources Council's Right Whale Monitoring Program was established in 1995 to reduce human impacts to the endangered North Atlantic right whale. Citizens on the east coast of Florida report land‑based sightings of right whales to our hotline (1‑888‑97‑WHALE). This information is passed on to local ship traffic to avoid ship strikes, which account for over one‑third of documented right whale deaths in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Whales Headed to Brevard County?

An unconfirmed report of right whales off the Canaveral National Seashore was received on the hotline December 9th.  The whales were observed for about an hour and were stationary at the time.  There's no telling where they might be headed, so keep your eyes on the water and call the hotline if you see anything!  Maybe we'll document right whales south of the Cape early this year!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Whale Class Schedule for 2013 Season

Please join us to learn more about right whales, how you can protect them, or just to brush up on right whale ID.  All classes are free except the boat harbor tour in Cape Canaveral.  See you there!


Sun., Dec. 2, 2012
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Barrier Island Center
8385 South Highway A1A, Melbourne Beach
(321) 723-3556  

Tues., Dec. 4, 2012
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.             
Lagoon House, 3275 Dixie Hwy. NE, Palm Bay
(321) 725-7775  

Thurs., Dec. 6, 2012
1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Flagler Co. Public Library, 2500 Palm Coast Pkwy, NW, Palm Coast
(904) 669-8615

Sat., Dec. 8, 2012
9:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
City Island Library Center, 105 E. Magnolia Ave., Daytona Beach
(386) 257-6036

Sat., Dec. 8, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Ormond Beach Public Library, 30 S. Beach St., Ormond Beach
(904) 669-8615

Sat., Dec. 8, 2012
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Anastasia Library, 124 Sea Grove Main Street, St. Augustine Beach
(904) 209-3730

Sat., Dec. 15, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
New Smyrna Beach Library, 1001 S. Dixie Fwy., New Smyrna Beach
(386) 424-2910

Sat., Dec. 15, 2012
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Satellite Beach Civic Center, 565 Cassia Blvd., Satellite Beach
Contact: Kerry Stoms, 321-773-6458

Sat., Jan.  12, 2013
10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Melbourne Beach Library, 324 Ocean Ave, Melbourne Beach
(321) 956-5642

Sat., Jan. 12, 2013
2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Cocoa Beach Library,   550 N. Brevard Ave., Cocoa Beach
(321) 868-1104

Sat., Jan. 19, 2013
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Blue Dolphin Harbor Tour/Port Canaveral:  $10 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under.  Seating is limited.  Call for reservations.  Meet at boat ramp by Grills Seafood Rest.  at 9:30am for a 10:00am departure.  505 Glen Cheek Dr., Cape Canaveral, FL.  (Reservations: Carol Noble (321) 783-7831, ext. 256)



                                    

First Ever Right Whales Confirmed by Volunteers in November!

Well, whale season is starting a little early!  Two right whales were spotted off Flagler Beach yesterday, November 29th.  This is the first confirmed right whale sighting for the state of Florida for the season and coastal residents were responsible for reporting the sighting!  Aerial survey teams in Florida typically don't start flying until December 1st.  So, to see right whales as far south as Flagler Beach, FL before December is very exciting!  We're used to having a little warning from the aerial surveys that the whales are headed our way, but the whales sneaked right by the survey areas, which don't go any farther south than Crescent Beach.

The Marineland Right Whale project posted an update on their blog describing the afternoon's events as they worked to verify MRC's hotline call.  It took about 4 hours to verify a species ID, determine the number of whales, and whether a calf was present.  As of December 6th, there is still some debate as to whether or not it was a mom/calf pair, or 2 adults/juveniles.

A huge thank you goes out to Frank Gromling for making several phone calls and getting responders to the scene.  We couldn't have done it without him!  Joy Hampp and Sheila McKenney with the Marineland Right Whale project were on scene for verification.  Here's what they posted on their blog:

"For the first time since the Marineland Right Whale Project began in 2001, we confirmed right whales in Flagler Beach in November! Julie Albert of Marine Resources Council received the call on the Hotline this afternoon and we mobilized a response team from Nautilis Condominium in south Flagler Beach. They spotted two whales at S 25th Street and followed them as they quickly moved to the Flagler County line, disappearing as they swam into Volusia. Despite searching for two hours in Ormond Beach, we did not see the whales again and were unable to get photographs with our long lens. However, Dale Hench of Nautilus got a photo of a right whale’s head and the tip of a second whale’s fluke, so we could confirm species and number. Based on behavior, we believe that they were two adult/juveniles.

So, it’s time to dust off the binoculars and turn your eyes seaward in case any other right whales decide to make an early appearance. May this be the harbinger of a great season!"

4th Annual Right Whale Festival Update

MRC participated in the 4th Annual Right Whale Festival on November 17th.  Together with the Marineland Right Whale Project, we stressed the importance the role of the public has in saving North Atlantic right whales.  Although it was chilly in Jacksonville Beach, it didn't deter people from coming out!  MRC and the Marineland Right Whale Project taught people about the right whale's blow and how it's actually water vapor condensing upon exhalation, not sea water being blown into the air.

There were more vendors and more food than we've had in the past and the passport program for the children was customized to three different age groups for the first time.   Special thanks to Lynna Kaucheck and Brandon Albert for helping at the MRC booth!  Jessica Koelsch at Sea to Shore Alliance and Cheryl Bonnes with NOAA did a fantastic job of organizing the festival!  In addition, I'm sure they couldn't have pulled it off without the help of Katie Jackson at FWC helping with the silent auction, all the volunteers, beach clean-up help, vendors, and more.  Thank you all for helping to bring the plight of right whales to more people to kick off yet another season!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Right Whale Shirts!!! Pre-Order Now!

MRC is taking pre-orders for new shirts for the Right Whale Festival in Jacksonville Beach on November, 17th.  If you'd like to order one and make sure you get the size you want, please let us know!  Most shirts will be the blue you see here available in youth and adult sizes, short sleeve and long sleeve (adult only).  We will likely get some v-neck, lime green shirts for the ladies as well.  The text below the whale calf reads "North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis)."  Youth and adult short-sleeve tees are yours with a $15 donation to the MRC whale program.  Long-sleeve shirts are our gift to you for a $20 donation.  Just email MRC at whales@mrcirl.org with your request and donations can be made in person or mailed to the Marine Resources Council, 3275 Dixie Hwy. NE, Palm Bay, FL,  32905.  You may also donate via PayPal on our website at www.mrcirl.org.  Scroll down to the bottom right of the home page where it says "Donate Now Through PayPal."   Please include your T-shirt size, color, and sleeve-length preference in the message box labeled "add special instruction to seller" before you send your donation.   If you are unable to pick up your shirt at our office or at the Right Whale Festival, please add $5 shipping per shirt to your donation. Questions?  Email us at whales@mrcirl.org or call our hotline at 1-888-979-4253.

 

Volunteers Needed to Follow Stella!

Hi all!

MRC is helping with the migration of Stella, a right whale painting by Wyland and students from south Florida, to educate elementary school children on right whales, healthy habits, art, and more!  Her journey starts in Key Largo, FL on Oct. 15th and will end on Nov. 17th in Jacksonville Beach at the Right Whale Festival!  Volunteer presenters are needed to travel with Stella and help with teaching children all about right whales.  If you can help and you're willing to travel, please email us at whales@mrcirl.org or call the hotline at 1-888-979-4253.  For more information on Stella, the associated art contest, a map of her journey, and more, visit  http://www.wylandfoundation.org/community.php?subsection=stellas_migration 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Annual Right Whale Naming Contest

The North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium is seeking submissions of right whale names for 15 whales again this year.  MRC plans to participate in this process and welcomes suggestions made by its volunteers.    The nominating period will start on October 15th and will run through the morning of October 29th.  Rules on naming include choosing something that's particular to the markings on the whale that will help make it identifiable in the field to researchers.  Many names have been based on scars, callosity patterns, etc.  Use other languages, mythology, astronomy, or other sciences to come up with ideas.  For example, Aprhodite is named for a heart-shaped marking on top of her head.  Boomerang has a boomerang-shaped mark on the underside of his tail.  Get creative!  Do NOT name whales after people or places.  Please submit ideas to MRC at whales@mrcirl.org and we will incorporate them into our submissions to the Consortium for you.  Thanks for your participation!

The following right whales are looking for names.  To see their distinctive markings, go to the right whale catalog at http://rwcatalog.neaq.org/Terms.aspx and search by individual:

Right whale #s 1423, 1616, 1708, 2470, 3294, 3340, 3390, 3512, 3660, 3791, 3802, 3808, 3845, 4040, 4060.  As we get more updated official rules, we'll post them.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Whale Program at Beach Eco Expo Sat. June 9th

Hi all! MRC's Right Whale Monitoring Program will have a booth at the Volusia County Beach Eco Expo on Saturday, June 9th. The Expo is at the Ocean Center from 9am to 4pm. Please stop by and say, "hi!" We will have hands-on educational materials, information you can take home with you, and goodies for sale (books, jewelry, float-rope door mats, whale toys, etc.). The event is free, parking is $5. For more information, call 386-238-4716. The Ocean Center is located at 101 N. Atlantic Ave., Daytona Beach, FL 32118. More of a description of the event can be found here: http://www.volusia.org/05-31c-12.htm Hope to see you there!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

American Cetacean Society - Central Florida Chapter!


The American Cetacean Society just may get a Central Florida chapter, thanks to the efforts of Linda Andruske at NASA. She's spearheading the effort to bring more whale conservation and education efforts to our area and is looking for members! In order to be considered a chapter through ACS, she needs at least 25 members. I will be joining, will you? It is possible a long-term collaborative effort may be on the horizon for ACS/Central Florida and MRC's whale program. ACS was started almost 45 years ago and has been a leader in bringing the issues of whale, dolphin, and porpoise issues to the general public. Their current chapters are on the U.S. west coast, but we could be lucky enough to get one here! Please take the time to learn about ACS on their website at www.acsonline.org. They were the organization that brought about the moratorium on commercial whaling! There's so much more about them than what I can tell you here. If you think you would like to become a member, there are wonderful benefits through ACS and Linda is already lining up events and speakers. Dr. Gerstein, an acoustician at Florida Atlantic University, has already offered to present his whale acoustics research at a meeting in April or May. I have been asked to consider being on the Board of Directors and if I do, I'd love to have some of my whale volunteers join me! (Don't worry, I'm not leaving MRC or the volunteer whale program). Everything is still very preliminary and Ms. Andruske is motivated to mix conservation, research, education, and fun to create incredible experiences for its members. If you're interested in joining (single annual membership is $45, family is $55, and teachers, students, and seniors are $35 ea.), please call her at 321-861-8064 to learn more! Tell Linda I sent you!
Julie Albert

Monday, February 20, 2012

Movie Fundraiser a Success! Let's Do It Again!


Thank you all so much for joining us on Thurs., Feb. 16th to celebrate the effort that people go to to save whales. We hope you all enjoyed the movie "Big Miracle" as much as we did! We sold 106 tickets and brought in $500 for the whale program! Thank you! We had several people say they had a great time and would love to do it again. We took that to heart and thought the upcoming Disneynature film "Chimpanzee" would be a perfect opportunity! It comes out on April 20th, just in time for Earth Day. The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund, who has supported our whale program for more than a decade, will be making donations to the Jane Goodall Institute based on the number of tickets sold the first week the movie is in theaters. So, we want to show our support back to Disney and other conservation groups that they fund and have a great time as well. We are currently thinking Monday, April 23rd and/or Thursday, April 26th. Stay tuned for more information on how to make the ticketing and concession process go quickly. Thanks for the suggestion everyone! Let's do it!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Movie Date/Time Confirmed!


Join us for our movie fundraiser at Premiere Theaters at the Oaks on Thursday, Feb. 16th at 7pm! We'll be seeing "Big Miracle," the new movie about the three gray whales trapped in Alaskan ice in 1988. Tickets are $10 and available through MRC. Please call the office at 321-725-7775 to make arrangements to pick up your tickets. A kid's size drink and popcorn are included!

Premiere Theaters is at 1800 West Hibiscus Blvd. in Melbourne. Here's a link to a map:

http://maps.google.com/maps?q=loc:+1800+West+Hibiscus+Boulevard+Melbourne+FL+32901+US+%28Premiere+Oaks+10%29&hl=en&sa=X&ei=VVYwT_ezE9OUtweo-7DyDw&sqi=2&ved=0CFoQxAMoNg

See you there!
Julie

Thursday, January 26, 2012

5th Calf Spotted!

The 5th known right whale calf of the season was spotted on Wednesday, January 25th by the Florida Fish and Wildlife aerial survey team. The new mother has been tentatively identified as right whale #3390. #3390's age is unknown and this is her first calf. To learn more about when and where she's been spotted, look her up in the right whale catalog at http://rwcatalog.neaq.org

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

First Calf of Season Missing

We're sad to report that the mother of this season's first calf was recently spotted by an aerial survey team with another adult, but not with her calf. This 29-year-old has had a total of 5 calves (including this year's). In addition to losing her 2012 calf, she also lost her previous two calves. A close eye will be kept on Half-Note (#1301) and photos will be analyzed to confirm the loss of her 2012 calf.

First Shore-Based Sightings of the Season!


Shore-based volunteers just had two sightings in two days! That's one way to get a late season started! A sighting was reported off Crescent Beach on Monday around 3:15pm. By 4:45pm, the Marineland Right Whale Project verified a single right whale close to shore and headed south. This morning around 7:40am, a call from Susie Rhonemus put us on alert again and four other reports followed hers. Once again, the Marineland folks trekked to Daytona Beach Shores looking for the whale from land while the AirCam searched from above. After being elusive and staying under water a lot, the whale was finally verified and photographed from the AirCam. Both sightings were reported to local ship traffic in a timely fashion. Incidentally, photographs are being analyzed to determine if both sightings were of the same whale. If so, it swam almost 50 miles overnight. That's a swim speed of 3 mph, or about 2.6 knots. We typically see speeds of about 1 mph (less than 1 knot), so this whale's in a hurry! It's entirely possible that if this whale keeps moving south at this speed, it could be in Brevard County on Wednesday! The photo here is courtesy of the Marineland Right Whale Project and was taken off Daytona Beach Shores on Jan. 24th. For more information on the sighting, you can visit Marineland's blog at marinelandrightwhale.blogspot.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Volunteer Office Help Needed


Hi all,

We will soon be doing a mailing of anywhere from 500 to 1000 envelopes and we are looking for volunteers to help stuff and label them. A wonderful volunteer is helping us contact Melbourne Beach residents in hopes of gaining more access to the beachfront to verify and document whales. We are hoping to do the mailing around the first week of February, so if you're interested in helping at the Lagoon House in Palm Bay, please call the office at 321-725-7775 or on the hotline at 1-888-979-4253 to let us know. We appreciate any help we can get! Thanks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Whale Movie Fundraiser!


Please join us on Thursday, February 23rd for a volunteer appreciation movie event and fundraiser! MRC volunteers and staff will enjoy "Big Miracle," the new whale movie coming out with Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski. Premiere Theaters in Melbourne (the Oaks on Hibiscus Blvd.) has welcomed our whale watchers to enjoy the movie and a kid's sized popcorn and drink. Tickets are $10 each and must be purchased through MRC. We are currently taking reservations for tickets and will know a showtime as Feb. 23rd gets closer. Here's a link to read about the movie: http://www.everybodyloveswhales.com/story.php

Please call the whale hotline at 1-888-979-4253 to reserve your tickets. We will be asking everyone to pre-pay soon by picking up tickets at our office or sending payment by mail and we'll hold your tickets at the door. Watch the blog for more information!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Brings Colder Weather to Florida

We definitly woke up to some chillier than usual weather here in Palm Bay this morning. Quite a shocker compared to the 80 degree days we enjoyed on Christmas and New Year's Eve!

However, because of this cold weather, we will keep our eyes peeled for any signs of Right Whales in the area.

There were several Right Whale sightings a bit North of here on New Year's Eve and New Years Day...On the 31st 1 adult was spotted 6.5 miles north of Jacksonville Beach, FL. On the 1st of the year 3 adults were spotted of the coast of Georgia, just 5 miles north of the Florida line. There were also acoustic detections of right whales in North Georgia and 2 adults spotted off of South Carolina.