Pelagic Report


adjective technical: of or relating to the open sea.

Each week Steve Junker speaks with a research expert about an aspect of our coastal environment. From disentangling whales, to examining seal scat, to sonar-mapping the undersea environment, and much more, we look at the fascinating natural world where the land meets the ocean.

Gulf Stream Orphans are appearing in our region. That’s not the name of a rock band, and they’re not unaccompanied children. Gulf Stream Orphans is the research term for Caribbean fish that show up in our Cape Cod waters, and scientists are looking to see if their numbers are increasing.

Center for Coastal Studies

To the casual observer it may seem as though humpback whales have suddenly appeared in numbers in local waters. This is another sign of June, as these seasonal migrants have returned from their breeding grounds in the Caribbean with new calves in tow.

República Mexicana /

A new local initiative to address climate change issues has launched. It's called the Cape Cod Climate Change Collaborative, and it draws inspiration from last December's historic Paris accord treaty. 

Center for Coastal Studies

Periodically through the late winter we have been updating you on the return of right whales to Cape Cod Bay. This past week marked a big increase in sightings of the rare mammals in our waters, along with the season's first calf. 

E. Eldredge /

You've probably heard of the Slow Food movement, but you may not have heard of Slow Fish. It’s an international gathering that happens once a year, focusing on promoting a sustainable, non-industrial approach to bringing fish from sea to table.

The biggest and fastest whale typically in Cape Cod waters is not one you hear talked about often. It's not the humpback, and not the right whale, our high-profile species. It's the fin whale.

Center for Coastal Studies / NOAA permit #14603-1

Whale watching from Cape Cod beaches? Yes you can. Dr. Charles "Stormy" Mayo, of the Center for Coastal Studies, says that we have remarkable opportunities to see endangered North Atlantic right whales from local shores.

Winter may seem like a dormant season in our region, especially in local waters, but there can be a lot going on that’s not easily seen. This is the time of year that Right Whales typically begin to show up in Cape Cod Bay, and as best we understand, they come for the food – the plankton that will soon be starting to bloom.

Photo by CCS under NOAA Permit

How do you study the diet and eating habits of seals? As they hunt in the open water, it’s almost impossible to see what they’re putting into their mouths. 

But there is another way.

Center for Coastal Studies

The new movie "The Finest Hours" is the tale of the 1952 sinking of the SS Pendleton in a storm off Cape Cod, and the daring rescue of its crew by the members of the Chatham Coast Guard Station. Now the Center for Coastal Studies, in Provincetown, has done some extensive underwater mapping of the wreckage of the Pendleton.