New East Coast Speed Limits Proposed to Protect Right Whales

New East Coast Speed Limits Proposed to Protect Right Whales
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries wants to expand speed limits along the Atlantic coast to include boats as small as 35 feet. It’s all in the name of reducing vessel strikes on North Atlantic right whales, an extremely endangered species with less than 350 individuals remaining.

The proposed changes to speed regulations are part of NOAA’s North Atlantic Right Whale Road to Recovery, a multi-part plan to recover the population. The changes would expand the current mandatory seasonal speed restrictions of 10 knots or less in designated areas of the ocean and extend to most vessels measuring 35 to 65 feet in length. 

While one might think large ships are riskiest for whales, NOAA Fisheries says vessels under 65 feet long account for five of the 12 documented vessel strike deaths in U.S. waters since 2008. Vessel strikes and fishing gear entanglements are two primary causes of right whale deaths. In addition to protecting them with…

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