Sunday, October 4, 2015

The 2015 Ocean Sunfish Stranding Season has begun!

Alex and Carly setting up NECWA's portable weighing tripod. 
As of today, NECWA has responded to 3 ocean sunfish standings on the shores of New England. The first fish stranded dead off Quincy. The second fish stranded dead on the rocks that support the Wellfleet Pier. The third fish stranded live in Duck Creek marsh in Wellfleet, but was not able to be saved due to the very dangerous location where it stranded.
Dead ocean sunfish in the marsh mud.
Close-up view of the dead ocean sunfish. 
NECWA responds to as many ocean sunfish as is possible and will rescue any live animals that are in need of assistance. If a carcass washes up on a local beach, then we conduct a necropsy (animal autopsy) to collect tissues and samples for research and education.

Alex paying out the line as Krill tries to reach the carcass. 
Here are some photos from our last necropsy which was conducted on October 3, 2015 in Duck Creek marsh. Krill had to kayak out to the fish which was situated in the middle of the mud flats in the marsh. These flats are very dangerous for the mud can be almost like quicksand.

Krill using a kayak to get close to the carcass deep in the marsh.
By using a kayak, Krill was able to safely reach the carcass as the tide came in. Once close to the carcass, Krill tried to pierce the carcass with a large and sharp hook. Unfortunately, the hook bounced right off as it could not penetrate the thick reticulated collagen right under the thin skin.

As the tide continued to rise, Krill was able to float the ocean sunfish to the shoreline as NECWA staff member Carly and NECWA intern Alex pulled on their end of the line.
Hook sunk into the eye of the ocean sunfish. 
Once the carcass was towed into shallow water along the shoreline, Krill, Carly, and Alex worked very quickly to weigh, measure, and necropsy the fish. As the tide continued to rise, the team had to pull the fish closer to the shoreline every 10 minutes in order to be able to accurately measure the carcass.

Krill measuring the pectoral fin. 
Alex and Krill moving the carcass. 
Alex and Krill putting straps under the carcass. 
Alex and Krill pulling the carcass up onto the beach as the tide came in.
This was a young male ocean sunfish and using NECWA's portable tripod, we determined that it weighed over 450 pounds. This fish was very healthy, but it did have cuts out of both its dorsal and anal fins. Although the cuts were quite extensive, especially those on the dorsal fin, neither appeared to be life threatening.

Very sad to think that this fish died simply because it was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Samples taken back to BSU will be used for research, conservation, and education. NECWA shares samples with researchers not only in New England, but also in Europe.

Measuring the width of the dorsal fin. 

Missing section on the right side of the anal fin. 
 Krill would like to thank both Carly and Alex for doing such an amazing job. This was one of the toughest carcass retrievals and necropsies that the team has attempted. Not only was it messy working on site in the marsh, but it was also very strenuous as you had to keep pulling the carcass up onto the shoreline as the tide continued to come in. Both young professionals worked hard and went over and above what most volunteers do on behalf of the animals.

Alex measuring the cut int the anal fin. 
Carly collecting data. 

 We hope that you will support our efforts to save or examine ocean sunfish that strand on our local New England beaches. NECWA needs your support and all financial contributions will be used to purchase the necessary supplies and equipment. To donate today, go to our website at and click on the Just Give button. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Great Deal! Hope you can join us. 

Print this coupon out and bring with you when you purchase your tickets. One coupon per person.

Although Tuesday whale watches have been canceled, this $25 ticket price is still good on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Plymouth Whale Watching ends their season on Monday, October 12th which is Columbus Day. 

Please support this company for they have continued to support NECWA by providing free tickets for interns onboard their whale watching trips and by allowing NECWA to collect sighting data and donations while offshore. 

This company cares about the whales that we have come to know and love and they support research, education, and conservation activities onboard their boats. Their captains are some of the most experienced captains offshore and they adhere to the National Marine Fisheries Service Whale Watching Guidelines. 

Hope to see you offshore before the end of the season. 

Best, Krill 

Marine Biologist and President, NECWA

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fall Seabird & Whale Tales Excursion

Trip Update: September 12, 2015
Trip is still a go. Please be down at the boats ready to board by 8 am. See you tomorrow! Krill 

Seabird and Whale Tales Excursion
Sunday, September 13, 2015
8:30 am to 5 pm (or 6 pm)

Day and Date: Sunday, September 13, 2015
Boarding time - 8:00 am
Departure Time - 8:30 am sharp - do not be late
Dock - Mayflower II State Pier
Vessel - the Son IV
Company - Plymouth Whale Watching

Free Continental Breakfast for all passengers.

Marine Forecast - click HERE

Who to contact: Krill Carson 508-566-0009 or

This trip is a GO and we are looking forward to another exciting day out on the water viewing seabirds, whales, seals, and other marine wildlife. Guest naturalists will be Wayne Petersen, David Clapp, Jim Sweeney, Mason Weinrich, and Krill Carson.

There are a few changes to the trip's start time, end time, and itinerary that I wanted to inform you about.

Start Time: We were able to get the boat company to agree to an earlier start time of 8:30 am. We are pushing hard to get an early start time so I am sorry for any confusion created. Please be down at the boat which is docked at the end of the State Pier by 8 am for boarding. We hope to leave the dock by 8:30 am sharp.

End Time: We are going to be flexible on our end time. We are scheduled to come back to the dock by 5 pm, but we could stay out until 6 pm if needed.

Itinerary: Once we leave Plymouth Harbor, we will head across Cape Cod Bay to Provincetown Harbor. The boat company had a previously arranged charter of pedal bikers who need to get dropped off in P'town that morning. Once we drop them off, they will spend the day pedaling back to Plymouth. It should take us close to 1 hr and 45 min. to steam across Cape Cod Bay and then we dock in Provincetown for only as long as it will take us to get the bikes and the bikers off the boat. While we are traveling across Cape Cod Bay, we will be looking for and commenting on the marine wildlife seen from the boat, but we won't have time to stop and watch them.

To compensate folks for this inconvenience, NECWA will be providing a free Continental Breakfast for all passengers that will include muffins, donuts, bagels, fruit, as well as juice and coffee. And as we cross the bay, we will conduct our free, onboard nature raffle so get ready for lots of fun as we raffle off nature-themed items like t-shirts, field guides and other paraphernalia.

I want to apologize for having to spend the first 2 hours of our trip crossing Cape Cod Bay and docking in P'town. I am sorry for this inconvenience, but I had no choice in the matter and am doing everything in my power to make this up to our passengers. The bike group chartered the boat in advance so they have first dibs on the morning route. But they did agree to leave the dock a bit earlier then what they were scheduled for, so again, be down at the dock by 8:00 am for an 8:30 am sailing.

Once we leave the bikers at P'town, the boat is ours for the rest of the day. We will be traveling along the outside of the Cape, passing Long Point Light, Wood End Light, and then Race Point Light as we head as far south as Highland Light. From there, we will turn back north and east and head offshore to the southern edge of Stellwagen Bank.

Over the past few weeks, we have had an explosion of sand lance in our southern waters that has attracted many unusual species of seabirds and other marine animals. So although we won't be able to head to Chatham on this trip, but instead will be staying closer to home, we will be in areas that have been very productive with regards to sightings.

Best to all and thank you for your understanding and patience in this matter. This trip is an important fundraising event for NECWA, but it is also a time to connect with friends offshore as well as wildlife. I work hard to put together productive and fun trips, and I greatly appreciate your continued commitment to NECWA and the work that we do on behalf of marine wildlife in our New England Waters. 

Again, please contact me you have any additional questions or concerns.

Best to all, Krill

Additional Trip Information:
    • Bring as little as you can due to space issues. 
    • You can bring your own food and drink, but no glass and no alcohol. 
    • You can purchase (cash only) lunch items from our full galley. Most are homemade. 
    • Bring small bills for the purchase of food, drinks and NECWA merchandise on sale.
    • NECWA t-shrits, sweatshirts, hats and other merchandise will be available for sale.
    • Cash only for the galley and for NECWA merchandise.
    • Use the link above to keep an eye out on the weather. The marine forecast is for Stellwagen Bank. 
    • Use the information below from Park Plymouth to find a good parking spot for all day. There are a few free lots that are a 10 minute walk from the boat. If you park in the Jenny Lot, walk behind the Jenny Grist Mill from the parking lot to access the path through the park. This path leads you down to the waterfront and is a beautiful walk. 

Galley: cash only - small bills please

     Breakfast - free Continental Breakfast: donuts, muffins, bagels, fruit, hot coffee, hot chocolate, and tea.

     Lunch - clam chowder, homemade turkey chili, homemade vegetarian chili, made-to-order deli sandwiches (roast beef, turkey, ham, or hummus).

     Desserts: brownies, cookies, etc.

     Drinks: water, coffee (caffeine and non), tea (caffeine and non), seltzers, ginger ale, Coke/Pepsi, Sprite

NECWA Merchandise: 

  • Peace for Whales t-shirts and sweatshirts
  • Northern gannet t-shirts and sweatshirts
  • field guides
  • whale and marine wildlife DVD
  • humpback song CD
  • NECWA baseball hat
  • NECWA magnets and bracelets

Parking in Plymouth:

 Park Plymouth Map General 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fall Beach Clean-up at Scusset Beach

Beach Clean-up at Scusset Beach State Reservation

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 10 am - 12 pm (noon)
No rain date
Meeting Location: Bathhouse/Snack Bar at Scusset Beach

The New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA) is sponsoring its annual beach cleanup at Scusset Beach State Reservation on Saturday, September 19th from 10 am to 12 pm. 

This beach cleanup is part of a larger effort through COASTSWEEP, the Massachusetts-wide coastal cleanup that occurs during September and October. And our beach cleanup at Scusset Beach is in conjunction with the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR).

COASTSWEEP cleanups are organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). Each fall, thousands of volunteers collect tons of trash from beaches, marshes, riverbanks and the seafloor. These cleanups are part of the International Coastal Cleanup organized by the Ocean Conservancy in Washington, D.C. Last year alone, 2,588 volunteers cleaned 139 miles of coastline, collecting more than seven tons of trash. 

NECWA will be meeting at the bathhouse/snack bar at Scusset Beach at 10 am. We will spend an hour cleaning the beach and then return for refreshments and a free nature-themed raffle. 

Please join us at Scusset Beach and let’s have fun spending time outdoors with family and friends, new and old. All are invited for this is a family event. NECWA and COASTSWEEP will provide all the necessary supplies, including protective gloves, garbage bags and data sheets for this cleanup effort. 

For additional information, email NECWA at

Thank you, Krill
Carol “Krill” Carson
President, NECWA
New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Fundraising Event - Saturday, August 22, 2015

Pilgrim Belle Sunset Social

A summer event for the entire family! 

Saturday, August 22nd from 7 pm - 8:30 pm
Join NECWA for our first annual Pilgrim Belle, Sunset Social. Enjoy a relaxing night out with the family in an old-fashioned paddle-wheel boat, the Pilgrim Belle. We sail from the Mayflower State Pier in Plymouth the evening of Saturday, August 22nd from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.
As the sun sets on Plymouth Harbor, listen to the gentle whooshing sound of the paddle wheels as the boat moves through the channel. Meet Krill Carson, Mary Nash, and the other staff members of NECWA as well as our amazing summer interns. 
While out on the water, enjoy an ice cream social. Choose a bowl of vanilla or chocolate ice cream and personalize it with various toppings.
Ticket Price
  • $25 for adults
  • $20 for seniors 62+
  • $15 for kids 5 - 12
  • free for kids under 4 
All proceeds will go to support NECWA's many projects and activities that help protect and conserve our unique coastal marine wildlife. 
To learn more or to register, 
go to our Constant Contact Event site 
by clicking
The Pilgrim Belle company will offer a cash bar for alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. 
NECWA will offer two different raffles while offshore. One will be for NECWA swag like a NECWA t-shirt or sweatshirt. The other will be a 50/50 raffle. So bring small bills if you want to participate in our onboard raffles. 
Thank you for your support and we hope you can join us for this fun and relaxing event.
Best, Krill Carson
Marine Biologist and President
New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 30, 2015 Whale Watch aboard Provincetown Whale Watch

We had a fabulous day offshore aboard the Son IV with Provincetown Whale Watch. Feeding finbacks, humpbacks, and basking sharks. And hundreds of shearwaters including Cory's, great, and sooty. Enjoy the video!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Special moments of mother and calf.

On our whale watch yesterday with Plymouth Whale Watching, we witnessed a tender moment between Spoon and her calf of this season. As mom was resting at the surface, the baby was rolling next to her, touching mom with its flipper and rolling on top of her head. Enjoy the video taken of this very special pair.