From NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region:
NOAA Fisheries announces that a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area or DMA) has been established 11 nautical miles southwest of Nantucket, MA to protect an aggregation of 6 right whales sighted in this area on March 20, 2018. This DMA is in effect immediately through April 4 2018.
Mariners are requested to route around this area or transit through it at 10 knots or less.
VOLUNTARY DYNAMIC MANAGEMENT AREAS (DMAs)
Mariners are requested to avoid or transit at 10 knots or less inside the following areas where persistent aggregations of right whales have been sighted. Find out more about ship strike reduction efforts.
Southwest of Nantucket, MA DMA -- in effect through April 4, 2018
41 28 N
40 47 N
070 45 W
069 46 W
ACTIVE SEASONAL MANAGEMENT AREAS (SMAs)
Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect in the following areas:
The year 2017 was devastating for North Atlantic right whales, which suffered a loss of 17 whales, plus an additional mortality in January 2018--about 4 percent of their population--an alarming number for such a critically endangered species with a population currently estimated at about 450 animals.
In August 2017, NOAA Fisheries declared the increase in right whale mortalities an “Unusual Mortality Event,” which helps the agency direct additional scientific and financial resources to investigating, understanding, and reducing the mortalities in partnership with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and outside experts from the scientific research community.