Right Whale Use of Southern New England Wind Energy Areas Increasing


Southern New England habitat is important to the North Atlantic right whale. With offshore wind energy development planned in the region, working with stakeholders to minimize potential impacts on right whales and other protected species is crucial.

Right whales are increasing their use of southern New England waters, including regions slated for offshore wind energy development, according to aerial survey data collected during the last decade. Offshore wind energy installations are proposed in waters off the south coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Understanding and minimizing the potential impacts from construction noise, increased vessel traffic, and habitat alteration will be crucial to protecting and conserving this endangered species. This research supports the Administration’s goal of deploying offshore wind while protecting biodiversity and promoting ocean co-use.

The study was published July 29 in Endangered Species Research. Marine mammal researchers from NOAA Fisheries and colleagues at the New England Aquarium and the Center for Coastal Studies examined aerial survey data collected between 2011–2015 and 2017–2019.

Continue reading at NOAA Fisheries

Image via NOAA Fisheries