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Photo Credit: Common Good Productions
New Jersey’s coastline stretches 127 miles from Sandy Hook in the north to Cape May in the south. While the coast is home to more than fifty towns and cities, the waters just offshore are teeming with a wide variety of marine life.
Coastal waters, which stretch from inland rivers and bays out to the edge of the continental shelf, are among the most biologically productive areas of the world. While these waters are only about 10 percent of the ocean’s surface area, they contain almost half of all the microscopic plants in the seas.
Photo Credit: Andreas Trepte
Humans aren’t the only mammals that enjoy New Jersey’s Atlantic coastline. A wide variety of marine mammals visit the New Jersey shore year round.
The most commons seals in New Jersey are harbor, harp, and grey seals. Populations from Maine and Eastern Canada sometimes find their way down to Barnegat Bay or other locations along New Jersey’s northern coastline. Seals are most commonly found in New Jersey in the winter months.
Photo Credit: NOAA NMFS
Photo Credit: NOAA
In the summer, dolphins are often seen frolicking along the New Jersey shore, particularly to the south near Cape May.
The best time to see humpback, fin, and right whales along the New Jersey coastline is in the fall.