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Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center
Whale SENSE - Atlantic Region

Research

In New Jersey and all United States coastal waters, marine mammals are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 that makes it illegal to hunt, harm, harass, feed or swim with any species. Additional species are also protected under the Endangered Species Act. The Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center is a part of a voluntary program, Whale SENSE, that trains all of our captains, naturalists and interns on the proper and respectful viewing techniques of marine mammals in the Atlantic. We follow all rules and regulations set forth by NOAA Fisheries Services and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation and set the example and spread the message to other vessels. We do believe this is extremely important and fully understand we are visitors to their natural habitat and always want to give them the utmost courtesy and respect they deserve.

Research Center

Through a grant funded by NOAA in 2011, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) outfitted Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center with cameras and GPS units to photograph and document the whales and dolphins in our area. Opportunistic photo identification has furthered our knowledge on the seasonal migration, distribution and abundance of both Humpback Whales and Bottlenose Dolphins in the Atlantic. Bottlenose Dolphins are identified by their dorsal fin and Humpback Whales are identified by the undersides of their fluke fins, occasionally accompanied by a unique dorsal fin. In addition to photographs and GPS, we are constantly recording data for weather and sea conditions, behaviors, group sizes, the presence of neonates, associations, surface intervals and other case studies.

Since 2011, we have documented over 300 distinct individuals in our Bottlenose Dolphin catalog that is still growing. Our catalog is a part of a larger database based out of Duke University and OBIS-SEAMAP, the Mid-Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin Catalog. The MABDC is a long-term collaborative effort to gain a greater understanding of the stock structure and migration patterns of dolphins in the Atlantic. The Northern Migratory stock visits seasonally returns to New Jersey. View our catalog (NJ-CMWWRC).
Our Humpback Whale sightings of new and previously documented individuals contribute to the Gulf of Maine Humpback Whale Catalog maintained by WDC. Our matches and new individuals confirm migratory routes as far north as Nova Scotia or as far south as the Dominican Republic.

Advance Purchase Strongly Recommended... Trips Often Sell Out!
*Our guarantee applies if no marine mammals are sighted. In the event that no marine mammals are sighted, we offer another trip. Subject to space availability.
Book Online Gift Cards Phone 1121 Route 109 - Utsch's Marina, Cape May
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