Juvenile Humpback Whales Feed In Plymouth, NOAA Says Steer Clear

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PLYMOUTH, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — After a video of a humpback whale crashing down on a boat off Plymouth's coastline went viral, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a warning to boaters to keep their distance from juvenile whales active there.

NOAA officials said onlookers should stay at least 100 feet away, as Environmental Police, NOAA Office of Law Enforcement are patrolling the area in Plymouth where juvenile humpback whales are feeding.

The mandatory distance varies based on what species of whale is in the area, for example, North Atlantic right whales need about 500 yards of space while other whales necessitate a range of 100 to 600 feet. Meanwhile, seals, dolphins, and sea turtles require 150 feet of space, officials said.

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According to NOAA's website, animals that leave the area or change its behavior are indicating they are done with spectators. In that situation, officials urge boaters to back away and to never chase aquatic mammals.

Officials say that boaters who see a ripple on the water's surface, aggregation of jellyfish, or spout, should slow their vessel to ten knots or less. When animals are in sight, NOAA say boaters are to stay at a "no-wake speed" until they pass.

Boaters are prohibited to feed wild marine animals, as doing so would increase the risk of injury if they approach too closely to vessels. Feeding marine animals can also teach them to become dependent on food handouts from humans, which officials say can make them aggressive.

WBZ's Brooke McCarthy (@BrookeWBZ) reports.

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