A Caribbean Citizen Science Project for Yachters


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Photos: Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC)

When humpbacks dive, they often raise their flukes above the water’s surface and provide researchers the opportunity to photograph the natural markings on the underside.  Whales (left to right): Tofu, Burst, Seal, Loon and Cardhu. Whale tail photographs courtesy of Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

NOAA’s Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (within the Gulf of Maine, U.S.) protects a  shared population of approximately 1,000 endangered humpback whales that return from their breeding grounds with new calves each spring.  Currently, there is limited information about specific breeding areas for this population in the Wider Caribbean Region, especially the Eastern Caribbean.


CARIB Tails relies on photo-identification techniques to help monitor the recovery of this endangered species.  The project is an international research collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary's (SBNMS) and its Sister Sanctuary Program partners together with the United Nation’s Caribbean Environment Programme's (UNEP) Specially Protected Areas and Wildlife Programme (SPAW), administered by its Regional Activity Center in Guadeloupe.

  Contact us: caribtails@gmail.org      Website hosted by Cetacean Society International

CARIB Tails is enlisting yachters and cruisers to help track the movements of humpback whales between their North Atlantic feeding grounds and their breeding grounds in the Wider Caribbean Region.


Your contributions of tail fluke photographs of humpback whales from the Caribbean region are critical for conservation efforts.


Flukeprints are the “fingerprints”
of whale identification.

Individual humpback whales are identified by the black and white patterns on the underside of their (tail) flukes.  Natural markings on the flukes captured through photography have allowed researchers to monitor the movements, health and behavior of individual humpbacks since this research began in the 1970’s.