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.

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!