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Five new members join WhaleSENSE

Contact: Maggie Mooney-Seus                                  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

978-281-9175 (office)                                                  August 30, 2013

774-392-4865 (cell)

 Responsible whale watch program expands throughout the east coast

Whale SENSE welcomes new participants

Whale watching is an important industry for many coastal communities from Maine through Virginia. Five new whale watching companies have joined a growing list of companies participating in Whale SENSE. This program, which was initiated by NOAA Fisheries’  Northeast Region, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation in 2009 recognizes companies committed to responsible whale watching practices. 

Since its launch, Whale SENSE has reached over 1 million whale watching passengers, showing that whale watching can be conducted responsibly, respecting the whales’ natural behaviors, while also maximizing passenger enjoyment and educational experience. Currently, 13 whale watching companies, representing one-third of the entire industry in this region, participate in this free, voluntary program. 

The Whale SENSE program is proud to welcome its newest members for the 2013 season:  American Princess Cruises (Queens, NY), Boston’s Best Cruises (Boston, MA), Cape May Whale Watcher (Cape May, NJ), Plymouth Whale Watch (Plymouth, MA), and Spirit of Cape May (Cape May, NJ).

“As the first whale watching operation out of the metropolitan New York area, the crew of the American Princess believes that educating the public about protecting our environment is crucial for the survival of the ocean animals we view,” Frank DeSantis, American Princess Cruises. “By participating in programs such as Whale SENSE, we are helping to ensure that generations to come will be able to enjoy this spectacular wildlife.”

According to Jeff Stewart, Cape May Whale Watch Watcher and and Spirit of Cape May, participating in Whale SENSE makes good business sense. “Passengers want to know that the tours they choose aren’t harming the animals they are seeing. Our Whale SENSE participation reassures our passengers that protecting these animals is a priority for our operations.”

Continuing Whale SENSE participants include: Starlight Fleet in Wildwood Crest, N.J., Cape May Whale Watch and Research Center in Cape May, N.J., Dolphin Fleet in Provincetown, Mass., Hyannis Whale Watcher Cruises in Barnstable, Mass., Captain John Boats in Plymouth, Mass., Provincetown Whale Watch in Provincetown, Mass., Bar Harbor Whale Watch in Bar Harbor, Maine, and Sea Salt Charters in Provincetown, Mass.

To learn more about the Whale SENSE program, please visit the website at www.whalesense.org or call 978-282-8462.

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Visit us at http://www.noaa.gov or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/noaa.

Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 842 square miles of ocean, stretching between Cape Ann and Cape Cod offshore of Massachusetts. Renowned for its biological diversity and remarkable productivity, the sanctuary is famous as a whale watching destination and supports a rich assortment of marine life, including marine mammals, seabirds, fishes and marine invertebrates. The sanctuary’s position astride the historic shipping routes and fishing grounds for Massachusetts’ oldest ports also makes it a repository for shipwrecks representing several hundred years of maritime transportation.

WDC, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, (formerly WDCS) is the leading global charity dedicated to the conservation and protection of whales and dolphins. We defend these remarkable creatures against the many threats they face through campaigns, advising governments, conservation projects, field research and rescue. WDC’s North American office is based in Plymouth, MA. WDC staff, volunteers and interns conduct research and work to protect whales from the threats they face. Visit www.whales.org to learn more about how you can help as a volunteer, advocate, or donor.

On the Web:

http://www.whalesense.org

http://www.whales.org – Whale and Dolphin Conservation

https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov – NOAA Fisheries/Northeast Regional Office

http://stellwagen.noaa.gov – NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary