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Image: Peter Flood

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New Petition to Protect North Atlantic Right Whales from Vessel Strikes

With fewer than 350 North Atlantic right whales left in the whole world, we have to help speak up for them. 

For North Atlantic right whales to recover, we have to make sure they have safe places to live. Unfortunately, one of the biggest threats that right whales face is being struck by a vessel (boat or ship). By lowering the chances of these accidents happening, we can give right whales safer seas to feed, socialize, and raise their babies. 

Thanks to your ongoing support and WDC’s ongoing determination, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has finally released a proposal to increase protections from accidental vessel strikes to North Atlantic right whales.  

Protect NARW donation image

Protect North Atlantic right whales!


This proposal, also known as a ‘proposed rule’, would strengthen protections for North Atlantic right whales in both space and time. Below is a comparison of the existing rule to the proposed ones.  

Current rule infographic
Proposed rule infographic


This proposed rule strengthens protections for North Atlantic right whales to reduce the chance of them getting struck by a vessel or boat. With these increased protections, we are asking for some additions to the proposed rule. 

  • Dynamic 10 kt speed zones are zones where a speed rule is triggered if there are right whales in that area. The proposed rule says these dynamic zones are triggered by the sightings of three right whales, but we are asking that a mother and calf pair would also trigger a dynamic zone.  
  • The area south of Cape Cod is a year-round habitat for North Atlantic right whales. We are asking NOAA to increase protections so right whales are protected in this area throughout the year.  
  • We are asking that NOAA make the Great South Channel (shown in purple on the map) area match the same seasonal timing as the Atlantic season (shown in green on the map) 
  • We are asking for robust visual and acoustic surveys to support the triggers for dynamic zones to keep whales and boaters safe.  
  • Currently all boats/vessels over 35 feet long are not required to have AIS ((automatic identification systems). We are asking that these vessels have this technology so the US Coast Guard and NOAA can monitor their speed. 
  • We are asking for an exemption for permitted disentanglement vessels so they can get to a whale in distress. 

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1 Comment

  1. Karen on 01/17/2023 at 6:51 pm

    Ships, boats must do everything possible to protect the whales and find other methods of fishing that the nets do not get caught up in the nets . The marine protection agencies should inform fishermen and coast guard’s of when these mammals are migrating and calving during certain times of year. There should be a hefty fine and fishing licenses be taken away from those who have ignored, didn’t inform,find safer netting that doesn’t catch or get any whale or mammal caught ,or propellers hitting these beautiful creatures. We have to appreciate and remember they have a big part of taking care of the land and our water systems too .

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