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.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

First Mom/Calf of 2017 Season Visits Brevard Co.!

Tail flukes of right whale #1711's calf off Melbourne Beach, FL on 1/15/17.  Photo by J. Albert/MRC

Right whale #1711 with her 3rd calf  and a bottlenose dolphin with its calf in the background off Melbourne Beach, FL on 1/15/17.  Photo by J. Albert/MRC
Brevard County enjoyed its first North Atlantic right whale sightings of the season this past weekend. Tentatively ID'd as Catalog #1711, this 30-year-old mom cruised southward through Satellite Beach Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017 with her 3rd calf. She was spotted moving through Melbourne Beach waters on Sunday, Jan. 15th and at 6:00 pm was about a mile north of Sebastian Inlet. FWC officers at the inlet say the pair spent a few hours west of the bridge during the night, but made it safely out around 12:25am Monday morning. #1711 gave birth to the first of 3 calves this season so far. She last calved in 2009. #1711 is one of only 4 adult North Atlantic right whales known to be in the southeast U.S. right now (3 of which have given birth, making a total of 7). It's been a very slow season with few whales, few calves, and with sightings happening later than usual. So, for those of you who have seen her so far, count your lucky stars! For those of you who haven't, she was headed south when she left Sebastian Inlet, so she's got to turn around and head north at some point! Enjoy any chance you get to see them, but remember to keep your distance.  The legal approach limit is 500 yards.