What makes the right whale right?

The right whale got its name because it was the "right" whale to hunt--it was slow moving and floated after being killed. It is the most endangered species of whale off of the U.S. coasts. It was the first whale hunted by American whalers, and it was so depleted that it has not recovered despite being protected for over 50 years. The maximum length of right whales is about 18.6 meters (60 feet), and the maximum weight is slightly more than 91 metric tonnes (100 tons). They feed on large schools of crustaceans, specifically copepods and krill, and may feed on small fish near the ocean floor. One of the major causes of death for right whales seems to be collisions with ships. Visit our Northern Right Whale Early Warning System page for more information about right whales, including what NMFS is doing to protect them