Ways to Help Right Whales

With fewer than 350 North Atlantic right whales left, we need everyone’s help to save them. Listed below are the top 10 ways that you can contribute to the protection of these incredible and important creatures. 

​​​​​​Right Whale Festival

Suggested Videos

Save the North Atlantic Right Whales: Whale and Dolphin Conservation   


Whales and The Plastic Problem: Word Wildlife Fund 

Five Solutions For Right Whales: Blue Ocean Society

The Right Whale to Save: Columbia Climate School

Save the Right Whale Act 

Ropeless Fishing: Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

1. Boat Responsibly
Help protect our critically endangered right whales while boating. Follow these guidelines, especially in the calving area (North Carolina through NE Florida) where right whales are giving birth to and nursing their young. 

  • Slow down (10 knots or less) in areas where right whales are present

  • Keep a sharp lookout for marine life, especially during times of poor
    visibility (night, sunrise and sunset, storms)

  • Always wear polarized glasses when boating

  • Monitor VHF channel 16 and local news about right whale sightings 

  • If you see a right whale, move away slowly. Remain 500 yards away,
    ​by air and by sea.

  • Report whale sightings to 1-877-WHALE HELP  (1-877-942-5343).

​2. Whale Watch Responsibly

View right whales respectfully at the required distance (500 yards) or from shore. Use binoculars or powerful zoom lenses to get a better look. Don't forget to report right whale sightings in the Southeast U.S. to 1-877-WHALE HELP  (1-877-942-5343). In the Northeast U.S., choose whale watch tour companies that view whales responsibly, such as Whale SENSE operators (www.whalesense.org). 

3. Keep the Ocean Clean 
Do your part in keeping the ocean clean by properly disposing of trash. When at the beach, keep food packaging and other debris from blowing in the ocean; be sure to keep an eye on your toys and belongings, like balls, sand shovels, and flip flops, to ensure they do not get swept into the water. Participate in beach clean-ups. When fishing, recycle monofilament lines and retrieve all gear from the water afterwards.

4. Buy Sustainable Seafood
Learn about what kinds of fisheries threaten whales and choose responsibly. Sustainable seafood is from stocks with healthy populations; caught using practices that have minimal impact on the marine environment & species; and caught in areas where fisheries are well-managed. Buy local sustainable seafood since it will also decrease the number of vessels sharing the waters with the whales. 

5. Buy Products Made in the U.S.A.
Vessel strikes are a leading cause of death for many large whale species. Buying products made in the United States of America helps reduce the number of ships transporting goods from other countries, thus reducing the number of ships sharing the waterways with whales.   

6. Reduce Your Use of Plastic
Plastic exists all throughout the ocean both in large aggregations such as the Great Pacific Garbage patch, and as small microplastics floating all throughout the waters. Both forms of plastic pose a significant threat to marine life, such as whales, when they are accidentally consumed. To help in this issue, limit your use of plastic, especially single-use plastic such as straws and plastic bags. Alternatively, buy reusable or compostable products such as metal straws and reusable grocery bags. 

7. Cut Down on Carbon
Reducing carbon emissions helps to reverse global warming. Simple ways you can decrease your carbon footprint include reducing your travel by car, bus, train, or plane; reducing the energy usage in your home; and changing the composition of your diet. Be aware of where your products come from and be knowledgeable about the carbon footprint of the companies you buy from.

8. Let Your Voice be Heard
Vote for politicians that are in support of protecting whales and the environment. Contact your local representatives asking them to support legislation that protects whales, such as the Save Right Whales Act. Advocate for modified fishing gear, such as those that use 1700-pound or weaker breaking strength rope or ropeless fishing techniques. To show your support for policy developed to protect whales and other marine life, be sure to comment on rules published in the Federal Register. 

9. Join the Cause
Volunteer or donate to organizations that work to protect right whales; see our sponsor list for such organizations. There is much more that can be done to help, so the more people involved in this cause, the more we can make a difference. 

10. Spread the Word
Let everyone know why we need to save whales. Tell your friends and family about how important whales are and urge them to help protect them. Follow Right Whale Festival, or our partners, such as Clearwater Marine Aquarium and NOAA Fisheries, on social media and share their posts!