(Photo: NOAA) / NOAA News Archive 123110

USA - NOAA: stricter boat speed regulations being considered to save endangered whales

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has proposed changes to speed regulations along the Atlantic coast, from New England to Florida, in an effort to protect endangered North Atlantic Right Whales.

Most boats 35 feet and longer would have to abide by speed restrictions in certain season management areas, and the proposal would also create speed restrictions when whales are known to be outside of those designated areas.

NOAA says an unusual number of the whales have died recently and they estimate that there are fewer than 350 of them remaining, and changes to boating speed regulations are necessary to prevent the species’ extinction.

A North Atlantic right whale that a team of state and federal biologists assisted in disentangling. Since 2017, 46 individual right whales have been found dead or seriously injured. This represents more than 10% of the population, according to NOAA.

NOAA is reviewing public comments and expects to take action on the proposed rule later this year.

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