Right whale spotted off Northeast Florida coast is 16th this season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A right whale named Giza and her calf were spotted off the Northeast Florida coast, making it the 16th right whale spotting of the season.

The discovery was made Thursday and the photo was taken by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. It’s significant because it’s the highest number of calves spotted in the past five years. Giza is 21 years old and it’s her third calf.

With warmer weather and spring break just around the corner, boaters need to be cautious.

“Boaters should be aware that right whales are still in the nearshore waters of Northeast Florida, and the extra effort to slow the vessel and post a lookout can prevent damage to the boat,” explained Tom Pitchford with the FWC.

Along the coast, Pitchford pointed out, vessels greater than 65 feet must slow down to 10 knots.

Notably, the whales do not have a dorsal fin so they can be difficult to spot.

“Now there are some characteristics of them, such as the V-shaped flow when they exhale air, but that’s not always a give away,” Pitchford said.

If you’re going out on a boat, you can download the Whale Alert app ahead of time. It will not only let you know when whales are spotted in your area, it will also let you report one and show you nursing grounds and slow speeds zones.”

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