A large group of whales was spotted off Duxbury Beach on Monday, drawing lots of attention from residents and boaters.

The Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries on Monday said a large and stable group of endangered North Atlantic right whales was documented in western Cape Cod Bay. The Division issued a High Risk Advisory in the area due to the number of whales, their behavior and their proximity to vessel traffic.

Approximately 60-80 whales were seen feeding on the surface and subsurface in areas near shipping lanes between Green Harbor and Sandwich. The Division said dense concentrations of zooplankton at the surface attract whales to this particular location.

Vessel strike is a major cause of human-induced mortality for right whales. For the safety of mariners and whales, vessel operators in this area are strongly urged to proceed with caution, reduce their speed to less than 10 knots, and post lookouts to avoid colliding with the whales.

Duxbury residents Ashley Stehn and Andrea Tougas both witnessed the whales feeding off Duxbury Beach on Monday. As word spread about therare visitors, onlookers flocked to the beach.


Regina Asmutis-Silvia, executive director for the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society of North America, said North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered, as fewer than 500 remain worldwide. Asmutis- Silvia said it is highly unusual to see the whales on the west side of the Bay and so close to shore.

“We have had sightings from the Canal to Green Harbor over the past several days,” Asmutis-Silvia said. “It’s been an amazing experience to be watching right whales from the land.”