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Whale of a Show

August 24, 2009

Newburyport News
August 24, 2009
By Katherine Landergan

The Newburyport Whale Watch has sighted an average of four or five whales per boating trip in years past.

This summer, people on local whale watches out of the Merrimack River are getting a show far above average.

On average, 10 to 15 whales are being spotted on each excursion, with a trip last week spotting 18, along with a pod of dolphins.

More whales mean more business, and the Newburyport Whale Watch had the most boat sellouts ever this year, despite the sluggish economy, with many repeat customers. Just this past week, whale enthusiasts arrived from Hawaii, Mexico, England, Ireland and South America to get a glimpse of a humpback breaching or a finback feeding.

There is no conclusive answer to explain the whale phenomena, but Dianna Schulte of the Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation saw an immediate population jump after herring fisherman were restricted from Jeffreys Bank, fishing grounds of the Gulf of Maine.

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