Accurately identifying the species you are seeing will help you to predict their behavior, therefore making it easier to safely navigate around them. Check out some of the commonly seen species in the North Atlantic below.

All links on this page take you to the species guide hosted through our partner program, Whale SENSE, which promotes responsible commercial whale watching practices.

Large Whales

Dolphins and porpoises


5 of the 6 species of sea turtles found along the Atlantic coast are endangered or threatened, and therefore protected under the Endangered Species Act.  The 6th species is currently being evaluated for receiving ESA protections as a threatened species.

 Learn more about these 6 species


There are many different shark species that can be found in the waters of the North Atlantic. Two of the larger species are basking and white sharks.

Basking Sharks

Basking sharks are plankton feeders and often swim slowly with open mouths while filtering their prey. They can reach lengths of up to 25 feet!

White Sharks

Cape Cod is an aggregation site for great white sharks, presenting an opportunity to advance our knowledge of the species through research. Scientists from the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy are conducting a number of studies to learn more about great white shark behavior and movements in the Northwest Atlantic. To see where great white sharks have been sighted or to report your own sighting, download the free Sharktivity App.

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