Rare Gray Whale Seen Off Nantucket Is Good And Bad News, Says Cape Expert

"An unusual visitor to local waters has caused a stir among the region's marine scientists: a gray whale.

Researchers with the New England Aquarium's aerial survey team on Tuesday reported spotting the whale 30 miles south of Nantucket during a flight on Friday — a sighting they said is "incredibly rare," considering the species has been extinct in the Atlantic Ocean for more than two centuries.

Typically found in the North Pacific, the animal's presence here suggests further evidence of advancing global warming that's increasingly rung alarm bells in the nation's halls of government, science and environmental stewardship.

"While we expect to see humpback, right, and fin whales, the ocean is a dynamic ecosystem, and you never know what you’ll find. These sightings of gray whales in the Atlantic serve as a reminder of how quickly marine species respond to climate change, given the chance,” said Orla O’Brien, associate research scientist at the New England Aquarium's Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life."

Heather McCarron reports for the Cape Cod Times March 6, 2024.

Source: Cape Cod Times, 03/08/2024