It started in the morning and continued into the late afternoon, sightings of whales in every direction and they put on a show with tail slapping, breaching, and a close visit right off the stern. While there were no right whale sightings, the diversity of marine life was abundant with minke whales, finback whales, humpback whales, and Atlantic white sided dolphins being seen.
It was the perfect background for Allison Henry, NOAA Fisheries Biologist, to present as her first time seeing whales was on a whale watch tour out of Boston where she saw a finback mom and calf. Allison shared her personal journey in marine biology, sharing that aspiring marine biologists do not need to go to graduate school to pursue a career in the field.
For almost 20 years, Allison served as part of the aerial survey team having just recently hung up her flight suit. As part of the aerial survey team, she was tasked to identify right whales through photo identification a less invasive approach to tagging whales but critical in understanding their population. Unfortunately, Allison’s work has shifted from identification to evaluating every dead, dying, and injured large whales due to human activities especially as the North Atlantic is experiencing an unusual mortality event for right whales, minke, and humpbacks.
Her work along with that of our current and past invited experts is vital in understanding the efforts required to protect marine life specifically that of the North Atlantic right whales.
Allison’s presentation along with the results of today’s hydrophone will be shared after SEA Sailing Symposium has concluded.