Researchers have published the results of their multi-year aerial study investigating six large whale species in the New York Bight, a triangular area of coastal ocean waters between Long Island and New Jersey.
These results provide data on the year-round occurrence of large whales and is expected to help guide conservation efforts to mitigate impacts from anthropogenic threats.
The study includes sighting rates, seasonality, abundance, density, and distribution of six whale species in the New York Bight. Researchers systematically collected data out to 120 nautical miles offshore over three years of monthly surveys. They found the average annual abundance to be 272 large whales in the Bight.
While all six species – humpback, fin, sei, blue, sperm, and North Atlantic right whales – were observed, humpback and fin whales occurred most frequently and were recorded all three years and were seen at least once in each month. The survey found large whale sighting rates were highest during summer, followed by spring.
This study is part of DEC’s Whale Monitoring Program to collect baseline data on whales in New York’s waters to better advise decision making, develop a long-term monitoring program, and support future management plans.
The paper is available for free online until November 28th.
New York State has a long history of whaling. You can read about that here.
For more information about the New York Bight Whale Monitoring Aerial Survey, visit DEC’s website.
Photo of whales courtesy DEC and Tetra Tech Inc.