Our program is the longest-running and most comprehensive North Atlantic right whale research and conservation initiative in the world. In addition to maintaining the North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog, we are investigating solutions to reduce the threats of boat strikes and fishing gear entanglements.

The Last North Atlantic Right Whale Hunt

In January of 1935, a mother right whale and her calf were swimming along the Florida shoreline in the heart of this species' calving grounds. Unfortunately they were sighted by a party of fishermen and a photographer who launched a small boat to hunt the calf.

How to Identify a Right Whale

Learn how to tell a North Atlantic right whale from other whales. Then, try your hand at identifying individual right whales in our online Right Whale Matching Game.

Where Do Right Whales Live?

The North Atlantic right whale was once found throughout the North Atlantic Ocean, from the United States and Canada to Europe. Today, after centuries of intensive hunting, the right whale is mostly confined to the Atlantic coast of the U.S. and Canada.

Right Whale Behaviors

Although whales spend more than 80 percent of their time below the ocean’s surface, we gain clues into their behavior by closely observing their patterns in the wild.


We are working to conserve this critically endangered whale by reducing the risk of ship strikes, decreasing the threat of fishing gear entanglement and increasing our knowledge of right whale behavior, genetics and population structure.

Right Whales and Climate Change

It has long been recognized that humans have brought the right whale to the brink of extinction through whaling and commercial fishing activities. But there may be another human activity that could have an even greater impact on the remaining whales — global climate change.

Results and Successes

Our Right Whale Research Project is helping conserve right whales by reducing their risk of being victims of ship strikes and increasing our understanding of individual histories and family relationships.

North Atlantic Right Whale Catalog

With more than 200,000 photographs dating back to 1935, the North Atlantic Right Whale Photo-Identification Catalog is the most complete right whale identification resource available to researchers today.