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
Friday, November 30, 2012
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.
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
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
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
Thursday, March 1, 2012
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!
Monday, February 20, 2012
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
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:
See you there!
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
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
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
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
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.