The Commercial Whale Watching Areas map depicts activity areas mapped by whale watch industry experts in the Northeast Coastal and Marine Recreational Use Characterization Study which was conducted by SeaPlan, the Surfrider Foundation, and Point 97 under the direction of the Northeast Regional Planning Body. For more details about this data, please see the relevant section in the study report.

Data Considerations

Information for the whale watch activity areas was provided by whale watch vessel owners, operators, naturalists, and data managers who were asked to describe conditions over the past 3 – 5 calendar years (2010 – 2014). As whale watch sighting conditions are highly variable, both within seasons and from year to year, the data should be considered to reflect a snapshot in time and should not be interpreted to definitively depict historical areas, past trends, or to predict future conditions. This dataset is believed to be geographically representative except for a data gap in the Boothbay Harbor (Maine) region. While it is believed that this dataset captures the majority of whale watching areas, it does not purport to depict every location where whale watching could possibly take place. This dataset only reflects areas mapped by large, commercial whale watch operators who have dedicated whale watching trips, and thus excludes potential activity areas for smaller charter vessels, as well as operators targeting seals, birds, or other offshore wildlife viewing opportunities.


This is a final data product.

Support for Regional Ocean Planning

For information about how these data and maps were developed with stakeholder input and will be used to support regional ocean planning, please see the 2016 Northeast Ocean Plan at www.neoceanplanning.org.