PLYMOUTH, MASS. (WHDH) – Officials have issued warnings to boaters following several recent whale sightings off the coast of Plymouth.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recommends giving whales a wide berth as whales come close to shore to feed on fish. Otherwise, boaters could face fines.
“Give them their space, because these whales are unpredictable. They’re large animals and they’re easily disturbed,” said Allison Ferreira, a spokesperson for NOAA. “We wouldn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
These whales are also juvenile and inexperienced, and like human juveniles, exhibit high-risk behaviors, according to Regina Asmutis-Silva, the executive director of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
“They’re not gonna be paying attention to the boats or the people that are out there, they’re very focused on food,” she said.
This comes as three young humpback whales feed off the coast of Plymouth. 7NEWS cameras were rolling as they fed Thursday morning to the cheers of many on shore.
Earlier this month, a whale breached and landed on a boat full of people. The six people on board is OK and experts say so is the whale, but they warn this could have been a lot worse.
Another whale bumped into a boat just days before that close encounter.
A photographer snapped the perfect picture of a whale breaching in front of a paddleboarder earlier this month and it quickly went viral.
“Then all of a sudden the mouth of the whale comes up and the fish our coming up and the whale scoops all the fish back in. Incredible,” said paddleboarder Mike Manfredi, describing the unique encounter.
Whale experts are providing the following tips for those who wish to see these majestic creatures:
- Do not chase or encircle with any watercraft
- Never approach head-on
- Avoid excessive speed
- Do not approach when calves are present
- Never get between a mother and calf.
“We’re advising recreational fisherman and boaters in the area to watch out for these whales and give them space,” said Ferreira.
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