As Congress was beginning its August recess, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed rule to implement new vessel speed restrictions from Massachusetts to Florida to protect North Atlantic right whales. This sweeping federal rule poses numerous setbacks to recreational fishing and boating, and yet, our community was surprised by the rule without having the chance to provide input while it was being developed.
We understand the importance of protecting North Atlantic right whales, but NOAA’s new proposal is government overreach – missing the mark on conservation while causing unintended consequences for the public.
There are less severe options that might still achieve NOAA’s conservation goals, and we are hopeful that with Congress back in session, you all can help us set this proposal on a better path. The deadline for public comment is September 30 (!) with a proposed effective date of November 15.