Whale Protection Rules In Effect

OCEAN CITY — With the appearance of whales feeding and frolicking off the coast of the resort last week, the Coast Guard this week is reminding large vessel operators that the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule is in effect from November to April, to protect endangered right whales in mid-Atlantic waters where they are known to migrate.

Collisions with ships and interaction with fishing gear are a major cause of mortality and injury to the North Atlantic right whale. As the federal government’s primary maritime enforcement agency, the Coast Guard is working closely with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a shared goal of conserving and rehabilitating the critically endangered whale’s population, which stands at approximately 300 worldwide.

NOAA fisheries implemented the regulations, which require vessels 65 feet or longer to operate at 10 knots or less over ground in certain locations consistent with the whales’ migratory pattern along the Atlantic coast. Vessels may operate at speeds more than 10 knots only if necessary to maintain a safe maneuvering speed in an area where conditions severely restrict vessel maneuverability as determined by the pilot or master.

About The Author: Steven Green

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The writer has been with The Dispatch in various capacities since 1995, including serving as editor and publisher since 2004. His previous titles were managing editor, staff writer, sports editor, sales account manager and copy editor. Growing up in Salisbury before moving to Berlin, Green graduated from Worcester Preparatory School in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University Baltimore in 1997 with degrees in Communications (journalism concentration) and Political Science.