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A 40-ton humpback whale frolicks off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass., in the Stellwagen Bank Natural Marine Sanctuary, one of the world's most popular whale-watching sites.

File photo
CNHI News Service

If you've ever gone on a whale watch yet failed to see a whale, you're disappointing days are over. There's now a smartphone and tablet app for detecting the presence of whales in ocean waters.

Jake Levenson, a marine biologist who helped design the app, said it tracks whales in offshore waters and spots their general location on an easy-to-read nautical chart.

"This has never been done before," said Levenson, 34, who has researched the whale-rich Massachusetts coast.

The free app, called WahleAlert, was released last week to Apple's iTunes store, and already more than 5,000 people have downloaded it, said Levenson.

That's not surprising when you consider recreational whale watching is a major tourism business, attracting more than 13 million people worldwide last year, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

The app was developed for the IFAW to alert mariners, especially cargo ships, to the location of the endangered right whales to avoid striking them.

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Details for this story were provided by the Newburyport, Mass., Daily News.

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