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Boaters spot humpback whale in Chesapeake Bay

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NORFOLK, Va. – A group of people out fishing in the Chesapeake Bay on Sunday had a close encounter with a pretty large Chesapeake Bay visitor — a humpback whale!

Miguel Angel Murillo says he was out fishing for trout and striper in the Bay when they spotted the whale not far from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Program Coordinator Alexander Costidis, Ph.D. tells News 3 humpback whales are not uncommon within the Bay this time of year and often tend to frequent deeper shipping channels.

Boaters using lower Bay waters from November to April are urged to exercise caution and stay alert.

NOAA recommends boaters keep a minimum 100 feet distance from whales. When they are unintentionally encountered, engines should be turned off until the whales move away, unless it is necessary to use propulsion for navigational safety.

Additionally, it is unlawful to intentionally approach whales such as humpback whales within 100 feet, and North Atlantic right whales within 1,500 feet.

Click here to read NOAA’s whale watching guidelines.