Coastal residents who want to join efforts to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale during their annual migration along the east coast from New England are urged to attend a volunteer training session on at 6 p.m. on Thursday, January 15, 2009, in the Port Authority Commission Chambers at the Maritime Center, 445 Challenger Road, Cape Canaveral. The Marine Resources Council (MRC) will provide training that will equip volunteers to spot whales, conduct whale surveys and collect critical data.

“Volunteers involved in the network provide critical assistance to the Port’s harbor pilots by confirming whale sightings that help vessels avoid potential collisions,” says Stan Payne, CEO, Port Canaveral.”

According to the MRC, the Canaveral Port Authority is its longest-term supporter of the Northern Right Whale Monitoring Program and Right Whale Volunteer Sighting Network. The network is a group of more than 600 coastal volunteers who learn to identify right whales and report the sightings to the MRC hotline (1-888-97-WHALE or 1-888-979-4253).

“Since 1995, MRC has partnered with the Canaveral Port Authority and others to focus on successful co-existence of humans and whales through science, education, and stewardship,” says Julie Albert, MRC Program Coordinator.

Northern Right whales, the most endangered of the great whales, migrate every winter to the coasts of Florida and Georgia, the only known place in the world where they give birth to their calves. During their migration from New England, pregnant mothers transect several busy shipping lanes. It is estimated only about 400 right whales remain.

For information on the Volunteer Network, contact Albert at 1-888-979-4253.