>Coast Guard Reminds Ships to Slow Down to Protect Right Whales

>On Nov. 2, the Coast Guard reminded operators of vessels 65 feet or greater in length that the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule took effect for the first time on Nov. 1. The new rule requires those vessels to slow down while operating in the U.S. Mid-Atlantic waters where North Atlantic right whales are known to migrate, calve and nurse.

All vessels 65 ft (19.8 m) or longer must travel at 10 knots or less in coastal waters from Rhode Island to Georgia beginning Nov. 1, 2009 and continuing through Apr. 30, 2010 to reduce the threat of ship collisions with critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The speed restrictions are based on the migration pattern of the whales. Slow moving North Atlantic right whales, among the most endangered whales in the world, are highly vulnerable to ship collisions, since their primary feeding and migration areas overlap with major East Coast shipping lanes.

Read the Coast Guard’s press release and coverage provided by the Environment News Service. Information on NOAA’s Ship Strike Reduction Strategy is available online at http://www.nero.noaa.gov/shipstrike/.