The Search for Undiscovered Right Whale Habitats

by Brenna Kraus

Ship Bar

On May 3rd, the 55ft. sailing vessel, Rosita, set out from Provincetown, Massachusetts in search of undiscovered right whale habitat. With a crew of five, made up of researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and the New England Aquarium's Right Whale Research Project, the vessel set out towards Ireland where right whales were historically hunted in the early 1900's.

Recent right whale studies have given cause to wonder, are there are places that right whales can be found that we don't know about? This question led to the only historical records of whales found offshore: whaling expedition. Each ship kept a record of the kinds of whales that were taken during each voyage. From those records, a list of old whaling grounds where right whales were taken was established. A plan was made to survey some of those areas by boat over the next year.

The Rosita is sailing a clockwise route around the Atlantic, beginning with surveys off of Ireland in June, off to the Hebrides in July and then to the Azores before the autumn. The Captain of the Rosita, Michael Moore, will be having his family join him shortly after the Rosita reaches Ireland and they will be wintering aboard the vessel in the Caribbean to avoid any major weather systems. In the spring, they will be sailing back north to Bermuda, in hopes of seeing more right whales.

The prospect of finding previously unknown right whale habitat is very exciting to all of us and although the New England Aquarium research crew is on the Rosita for only the first leg of the trip, we will be following their findings closely and you can too! The Rosita's progress as she makes her way around the Atlantic Ocean, as well as reports of her findings, will be posted at the following WhaleNet website: The Moore family will be sending news of not only right whales, but all of the exciting marine life they will undoubtedly encounter throughout their voyage. Until the Rosita returns from her travels, we'll all be thinking hopeful thoughts and wishing the crew fair winds and happy sailing.

Right Whale Reports

Right Whale Adoptions
with New England Aquarium's Right Whale Research Project.

Areas of Right Whale Concentrations in the Gulf of Maine

Reports 1,2 / Sighting Log - Leg 1 / Maps / Study Guide / Right Whale Reports

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