There are so many reasons to love Amelia Island, but one of our personal favorites is the North Atlantic right whale population! The North Atlantic right whales population lives along the eastern coast of North America. They spend the summer at their feeding and mating grounds off the coast of New England and Canada. During the winter, pregnant females travel south along the coast of northeast Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina where they give birth and raise their young. We are proud to be the home of the Right Whale Festival that takes place at Main Beach Park! This year the festival will be held on November 4th and November 5th!
Right whales received their name from commercial fishermen who called them the “right whale to kill”. This was due to the fact that they swim close to the shore at very slow speeds. Their thick blubber causes them to float to the surface when they die, and they have a high oil content which was very valuable back in the day. Whaling was a popular way of life beginning in the 11th century with the Basque people. As the industry spread around the world, right whales became the preferred target of popular whaling sites along the North American eastern coast including Nantucket and Newfoundland. By the 1930s, the population of North Atlantic right whales was hunted to near extinction.
Today, the North Atlantic right whale is a federally-protected endangered species under the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Less than 350 of these right whales exist today. Recovery has been slow for various reasons including a slow reproduction rate, and the two major threats to the species; entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with vessels.
If you’re interested in a few simple ways that you can help the right whale population today, check out the list below.
- Boat responsibly
- Whale watch responsibly
- Keep the ocean clean
- Buy sustainable seafood
- Buy products made in the U.S.A.
- Reduce your use of plastic
- Cut down on carbon
- Let your voice be heard
- Join the cause
- Spread the word!
With less than 350 right whales remaining, the Right Whale Festival is a family-fun event that raises awareness of the threats to right whales and how we can help in their recovery. The Right Whale Festival celebrates the annual return of endangered North Atlantic right whales to the warm coastal waters off northeast Florida and Georgia. Most of the pregnant whales and/or mother-calf pairs swim within a few miles of Amelia Island during the winter months! The festival highlights efforts to protect these whales from extinction, as well as ocean-themed activities and exhibits that emphasize education and environmentally responsible adventures and products! And if you aren’t able to come out to the festival this year, you can always support the cause through the purchase one of our Happy Sea whale tees in the shop or online. Proceeds go towards the Amelia Island Right Whale Ambassadors! We hope to see you out at the festival on November 4th and 5th. Head to their website for more information! www.rightwhalefestival.com