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Proposed Map

The sanctuary’s mission would be to protect the right whales and this critical sandy and shoaly marine habitat through education, research, and resource protection efforts guided by an active advisory council. The sanctuary would work with community and interest groups, including conservationists, scientists, fishers, windmill and boat operators, government agencies, and others. To partner with indigenous knowledge holders, named positions on the Advisory Council would include Narraganset and Wampanoag Aquinna representatives.

The sanctuary is proposed to be 6500 square miles with a perimeter of 550 miles that includes 200 miles of coastal Massachusetts and Block Island, Rhode Island. The proposed sanctuary is adjacent to and south of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. Its configuration is based on the Northeast Ocean Data portal chart of right whale abundance, as shown on the map below.

The sanctuary has contested waters with plans for many windmills, increasing ship traffic, fishing, and lobstering. To manage, the Sanctuary will convene regular meetings of Advisory Council members to develop comprehensive interagency plans; increase data sharing between academia, government, industry, and community groups to maximize the amount of data available; increase analytical rigor; and develop and implement directed studies of right whale population-level changes from offshore wind and other activities.

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Save the Right Whales

The North Atlantic right whale is a critically endangered whale. In the 1970s, with the first whale watches, there were estimated to be 350 right whales, and the population was growing. Then, in 2017, right whales took a turn for the worse. By 2020, the population had fallen to 338 right whales, with only 50-70 breeding females. We must now do more to protect and restore right whales.


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