The recreational boating and fishing industry remains concerned over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) proposed changes to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule.

Changes include:

  • A mandatory 10 knot (11 mph) speed restriction for all boats 65 feet and greater be lowered to include all boats 35 feet and greater in length.
  • An expansion of the existing Seasonal Speed Zones (SSZ) to span the vast majority of the Atlantic coast – from Massachusetts to central Florida.
  • A 10 knot speed restriction up to 90 miles out from the shoreline, in some instances, for up to 8 months out of the year.

We believe there is a more balanced approach that should be taken to protect the North Atlantic right whale, which does not severely restrict access to the Atlantic Ocean. Instead of this sweeping rule, NOAA must work with the recreational marine industry and U.S. Coast Guard to establish solutions to track whale migration patterns and enforce existing restrictions.

Write your members of Congress and urge them to support language in this year’s Appropriations bill that focuses on the development and implementation of a technology-driven solution to track and monitor the North Atlantic right whale to assist in avoiding vessel and boat strikes altogether.