NOAA Fisheries announces the annual opening of Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs) in the Mid-Atlantic to protect North Atlantic right whales starting tomorrow, November 1, 2022. All vessels 65 feet or longer must travel at 10 knots or less in this area to reduce the threat of vessel collisions with these endangered whales. The Mid-Atlantic SMA is in effect through April 30, 2023.
Because vessels of all sizes can strike and injure a right whale, NOAA Fisheries also encourages vessels less than 65 feet in length to slow down to 10 knots or less within active SMAs.
Mid-Atlantic SMA (Migratory Route and Calving Grounds) Boundaries Include:
Block Island Sound waters bounded by:
40°51’53.7″ N 070°36’44.9″ W
41°20’14.1″ N 070°49’44.1″ W
41°04’16.7″ N 071°51’21.0″ W
40°35’56.5″ N 071°38’25.1″ W then back to starting point.
Within a 20-nm (37 km) radius of the following (as measured seaward from the COLREGS lines):
-Ports of New York/New Jersey:
-Entrance to the Delaware Bay (Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington):
-Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay (Ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore):
-Ports of Morehead City and Beaufort, NC:
Within a continuous area 20-nm from shore between Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brunswick, Georgia, bounded by the following:
A- 34°10’30″N, 077°49’12″W
B- 33°56’42″N, 077°31’30″W
C- 33°36’30″N, 077°47’06″W
D- 33°28’24″N, 078°32’30″W
E- 32°59’06″N, 078°50’18″W
F- 31°50’00″N, 080°33’12″W
G- 31°27’00″N, 080°51’36″W
and west back to the shore.
Visit our website for details and graphics of all ship strike management zones currently in effect.
Download the Whale Alert App for iPad and iPhone for real-time updates.
All boaters from Maine to Virginia, or interested parties, can sign up for email or text notifications about the latest Right Whale Slow Zones. You can also follow us on Facebook (@NOAAFisheriesNEMA) and Twitter (@NOAAFish_GARFO) for announcements.
Right Whale Sightings
For recent right whale sightings, visit our website.
Approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law. Please report all right whale sightings to: 866-755-NOAA (6622).