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New Voluntary Slow Speed Zone to Protect Right Whales Sighted 2 Nautical Miles South of Nantucket

July 3, 2018

NOAA Fisheries announces that a voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area or DMA) has been established to protect a group of four right whales sighted 2 nautical miles south of Nantucket on June 30, 2018.


Mariners are requested to avoid or transit at 10 knots or less inside the following area where a group of right whales has been sighted. Find out more about ship strike reduction efforts

South of Nantucket -- effective through July 15.

41 32 N
40 54 N
070 29 W
069 36 W 


Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are also in effect in the Great South Channel through July 31.

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

Find out more about our right whale conservation efforts and the researchers behind those efforts.

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 is a violation of federal and state law. 

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