Thursday, February 01, 2007


SISTER SANCTUARIES TO PROTECT ENDANGERED WHALES AT BOTH ENDS OF ANNUAL MIGRATIONUnited States and Dominican Republic Partner in Historic Conservation EffortJan. 29, 2007 - NOAA established a "sister sanctuary" arrangement betweenthe NOAA Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off the coast ofMassachusetts and the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of the Dominican Republic, twomarine protected areas 3,000 miles apart that provide conservation programsfor the same population of humpback whales. (Click NOAA image for largerview of humpback whale breaching in the NOAA Stellwagen Bank National MarineSanctuary, which is one of the acrobatic behaviors that whale watchers enjoyseeing. Whale watching is a major ecotourism industry in both the StellwagenBank National Marine Sanctuary and the Marine Mammal Sanctuary of theDominican Republic. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit"NOAA.")The initiative is the world's first sister sanctuary linkage protecting anendangered migratory marine mammal species on both ends of its range. Bothsanctuaries provide critical support for the same population of around 900whales, which spend spring and summer in the rich feeding grounds ofStellwagen Bank before heading south to the warmer waters of the DominicanRepublic in late fall to mate and give birth to their young. The sistersanctuary agreement was designed to enhance coordination in managementefforts between the two sanctuaries and help improve humpback whale recoveryin the north Atlantic.

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