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May 5, 2016 5:45 PM

Seacoast boaters are being warned to be on the lookout for North Atlantic Right Whales

NH1.com

New Hampshire boaters are being warned to watch out for rare North Atlantic Right Whales after a pod of nine was spotted off the seacoast.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, (NOAA) issued the advisory Monday after an aerial research team spotted the nine whales 20 miles southeast of Portsmouth.

“Anytime you see them, it’s a big story,” said Ashley Stokes who works with the Animal Rescue team at Rye’s Seacoast Science Center.

Often referred to as the last of the dinosaurs, these massive sea creatures were once hunted to near extinction. There are approximately five-hundred left in the world and it’s the federal government’s job to help protect them.

“They put out a warning to keep boaters a minimum of 1500 feet back and that’s pretty far. Boaters are not to travel over ten knots per hour,” said Stokes.

Because these baleen whales travel slowly at about six miles per hour, and skim the water’s surface for zooplankton, it’s always a risk that they’ll collide with sea vessels.

Patty Adell works on whale watching expeditions and she has seen thousands of whales, but has only see a right whale once.

“It’s been many, many years, but it was a single right whale,” she told NH1 News.

To help further protect these rare whales NOAA expanded, by seven times, the Right Whale’s “critical territory” off the New England coastline.

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