Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
Stellwagen Bank is a shallow area in the Gulf of
Maine 26 miles east of Boston and between Gloucester and Provincetown. Formed
as the glaciers retreated from New England it has approximately the same shape
as the upper part of Cape Cod.
The BE Buoy
This computer generated map is used with permission of Rich
Signell of the U.S. Geological Survey at Woods Hole. See their web page for
more interesting computer images.
The dark blue area to the left (west) of Stellwagen Bank is known as
Stellwagen Basin. The depth in the basin is over 300 feet. Once you cross over
the banks the depth decreases to 70 - 100 feet. Stellwagen Bank is steeper on
the west side than it is on the east side.
The entrance to Boston Harbor is marked
by a series of buoys that begin south of Nantucket Shoals. The first buoy is
the BA. (The B is for Boston.) Then you have BB, BC. BD and finally the BE buoy
is located north of Race Point.
So when a trip is reported to have gone
to the BE buoy you know it was to south Stellwagen Bank.
Stellwagen Bank supports a population of 100 +
Humpback whales during the summer season. The whales support the whale watching
industry which makes Stellwagen Bank one of the most accessible pelagic birding
areas in the world.
Whale watching boats depart from Provincetown on
Cape Cod, Barnstable, Plymouth (not show on map, but half way between Boston
and Barnstable), Boston, Gloucester, and Newburyport.
|Port of Boston
Shipping lanes for the
busy port of Boston pass diagonally across Stellwagen Bank. The BE buoy on the
south end of the banks marks the shipping entrance. Large ships endanger whales
and pose the threat of oil pollution.
Regulating commercial fishing in
the sanctuary is the responsibility of the U.S. Fisheries Department.
|Policing Whale Watching
On August 18, 2001 the
Massachusetts State Environmental Police had 2 boats on Stellwagen Bank to
police the whale watching boats. Notice the guy in the front with the video