Effective Through November 28 and November 26
NOAA Fisheries announces two voluntary Right Whale Slow Zones (acoustic triggers). On November 13, the Gulf of Maine Slocum glider operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) detected the presence of right whales east of Portland, ME. The Right Whale Slow Zone is in effect through November 28, 2023.
On November 11, the Cape Charles acoustic buoy operated by WHOI detected the presence of right whales northeast of Virginia Beach, VA. The Right Whale Slow Zone is in effect through November 26, 2023.
VOLUNTARY Right whale “Slow Zone” Areas
Mariners are requested to avoid or transit at 10 knots or less inside the following Acoustic Slow Zones where right whales have been detected. Please visit our website for more information.
East of Portland, ME Acoustic Slow Zone: Effective November 13-28, 2023
Waters bounded by:
NORTHERN BOUNDARY: 43°44′ N
SOUTHERN BOUNDARY: 43°05′ N
EASTERN BOUNDARY: 68°10′ W
WESTERN BOUNDARY: 69°05′ W
Northeast of Virginia Beach, VA Acoustic Slow Zone: Effective November 11-26, 2023
Waters bounded by:
NORTHERN BOUNDARY: 37°29′ N
SOUTHERN BOUNDARY: 36°50′ N
EASTERN BOUNDARY: 74°50′ W
WESTERN BOUNDARY: 75°40′ W
Active Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs)
Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect for vessels 65 feet or larger in the following areas:
- Mid-Atlantic U.S. SMAs (Nov. 1 – Apr. 30)
- Southeast U.S. SMAs (Nov. 15 – Apr. 15)
Give Right Whales Room
North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. If seen, remember that approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law.
Right Whales in Trouble
North Atlantic right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists estimate there are fewer than 350 individuals remaining, making them one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.
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.
Details and graphics of all of all vessel strike management zones currently in effect.
Download the Whale Alert app for iPad, iPhone, and Android for real time updates on Slow Zones, SMAs, and other right whale sightings.
Find out more about our right whale conservation efforts and the researchers behind those efforts.
Spread the Word!
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.
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