Vessel Speed Restriction Zone Implemented to Protect Right Whales

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After an aggregation of right whales was sighted from a Boston-area beach on April 9, 2020, NOAA Fisheries announced a new voluntary vessel speed restriction zone east of Boston. The Dynamic Management area, or DMA, is in effect through April 24, and boaters are asked to travel at 10 knots or less inside the area.


North Atlantic right whales are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. They are currently migrating along the Atlantic coast, and NOAA is asking boaters and fishermen to be cautious and give them space to reduce the deaths and injuries the whales will suffer from boat collisions. Commercial fishermen are also asked to remove unused nets from the ocean and use vertical lines with weak links to help prevent entanglements.

In addition to the voluntary speed restriction zone, the following areas have a mandatory speed restriction of 10 knots or less in effect: Mid-Atlantic until April 30, Cape Cod Bay until May 15, Off Race Point until April 30, and Great South Channel until July 31. 


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Promising News for Right Whales

Three newborn North Atlantic right whales have been sighted off the coasts of Florida and Georgia, an encouraging sign for the endangered cetaceans after a dreadful breeding season and more than a dozen ship strike deaths in 2017.