Whale Research and Whale Watches

Since 1996, we’ve studied whales in the Gulf of Maine, focusing particularly on large baleen whales (fin and humpback whales).  Our research is conducted from commercial whale watching vessels, which provide a platform from which we can educate thousands of people each year while collecting unique data on the whales in our area and human impacts to these animals.

Whale Research

From May-October, we collect observational data on marine mammals and other sightings from local whale watch boats. Our research focuses primarily on and around Jeffreys Ledge which is a productive area in the Gulf of Maine that is home to many species of fish and whales. We are the only organization to collect consistent data on the marine mammals inhabiting Jeffreys Ledge during the summer, and have been doing so since 1996. Since 2013, we have also worked in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, which provides us the opportunity to collect additional data and compare sightings and habitat usage between these two very different reasons.

About Jeffreys Ledge
Jeffreys Ledge is a 33-mile long rocky ledge which stretches from Cape Ann, Massachusetts to just southeast of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. Water depth on the ledge ranges from about 140-240 feet, while the water depth around the ledge drops off quickly to 250-600 feet. As the water depth decreases on the edge of the ledge, upwelling occurs which brings nutrients toward the surface, creating a productive habitat.