North Atlantic right whales

May 2019

North Atlantic right whales are one of the world's most endangered ocean species. Learn what we and our partners are doing to protect them in our video.

Media Transcript

[Screen fades from black to an aerial shot of two whales, one big and one small, swimming in green-tinted water as dolphins swim around. Soft instrumental music plays, and a blue banner with white text appears in the bottom left corner]

This North Atlantic right whale mom and calf are interacting with some curious dolphins!

[The whale calf swims to the surface to breach]

North Atlantic right whales give birth in waters off the southeast U.S. coast.

Many travel to the waters of Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary to feed.

[The whale calf swims above and over its mother]

Fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remain on the planet today.

[The mother whale surfaces to breach]

This is one of the world’s most endangered ocean species.

[A vintage painting is shown depicting a commercial whaling endeavor. A steamship sits in the background, while men aboard a rowboat spear a whale in the image’s foreground]

By the late 1800s, right whales were near extinction due to commercial whaling.

[The video cuts back to footage of the right whale calf and its mother, a pod of dolphins swimming around them]

Though these whales are no longer hunted, the population is still not recovering.

[A boat floats on the surface of the water in close proximity to the whales]

North Atlantic right whales are especially at risk of collision with ships and entanglement in fishing gear.

[Footage of a whale disentanglement is shown, the whale caught in rope and swimming parallel to a boat]

This whale was entangled in more than 450 feet of line and a 135-pound fishing trap.

[The tangled whale thrashes next to the boat]

A trained team working under NOAA permit disentangled the whale successfully.

[A person wearing gear holds whale disentanglement equipment aboard an inflatable boat]

NOAA scientists, resource managers, and partners are coordinating closely to solve this urgent conservation challenge.

[The disentanglement crew smile, holding the fishing trap that they freed the whale from. Footage returns to the aerial view of the right whale mother and calf swimming together]

It is against the law to approach or intercept within 500 yards of a right whale.

If you find yourself within 500 yards of a right whale, give them space slowly and safely to help them survive and thrive.

[Screen fades to black, and white text appears]

If you see a right whale in the wild call (877) WHALE-HELP or report it on the Whale Alert App:

To learn more, visit:

[Screen fades to black once more and the Earth Is Blue logo appears, followed by the website and the logos for NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuaries. Crediting text reads:

Drone footage provided by Blue World Research Institute, taken under NMFS ESA/MMPA PERMIT #20556-01

Rescue footage courtesy of Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and Sea to Shore Alliance, taken pursuant to NMFS MMHSRP Permits # 18786 and 15488

Artwork: BlueWorld Web Museum
Editor: Shannon Shikles/ NOAA
Music: Killer Tracks]