The National Marine Fisheries Service is the federal agency responsible
for protecting gray whales under the Marine
Mammal Protection Act of 1972. In order to protect the gray whale from
harassment and to promote a better understanding of the need to avoid harassment, the
National Marine Fisheries Service is providing these guidelines for safe, non-disruptive
Vessels should not be operated at speeds faster than a whale or group of
whales while paralleling them within 100 yards.
Vessels should be operated at a constant speed while paralleling or
following whales within 100 yards.
Vessels should do nothing to cause a whale to change direction.
Aircraft should not fly lower than 1,000 feet while within a horizontal
distance of 100 yards from a whale.
Generally, a whale's normal behavior should not be interrupted. Such
annoyance may cause a whale to change its direction rapidly, swim faster, or swim in an
erratic pattern. To interrupt a whale's normal activity constitutes harassment and
is against the law!
National Marine Fisheries Service
501 West Ocean Boulevard
Long Beach, CA 90802-4213