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Extension of Voluntary Right Whale Speed Restriction Zone

April 5, 2018

NOAA Fisheries announces that the voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area  or DMA) established on March 20 has been extended to protect an aggregation of 8 right whales sighted 20 nautical miles south of Nantucket on March 29. This DMA will continue to be in effect through April 12, 2018. 

Mariners are requested to route around this area or transit through it at 10 knots or less.


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 12, 2018

41 28 N
40 47 N
070 45 W
069 46 W 


Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect in the following areas:

Cape Cod Bay SMA in effect through May 15, 2018

Block Island SMA in effect through April 30, 2018

New York, Philadelphia and Norfolk SMA in effect through April 30, 2018 

DMA around Nantucket

Right Whales in Crisis

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.


More Info

Recent right whale sightings

Download the Whale Alert app for iPad and iPhone

Acoustic detections in Cape Cod Bay and the Boston TSS

Send a blank message to receive a return email listing all current U.S. DMAs and SMAs.

Details and graphics of all ship strike management zones currently in effect.

Reminder: Approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards in a violation of federal and state law. 

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175