NEW Slow Speed Zone East of Boston to Protect Right Whales

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NOAA Fisheries - New England - Mid Atlantic Bulletin

April 10, 2020

Vessel Slow Speed Zone Established East of Boston to Protect Right Whales

In Effect Through April 24

NOAA Fisheries announces a new voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area  or DMA) east of Boston. 

This DMA is based on an April 9, 2020, sighting of an aggregation of right whales from a Boston-area beach by private citizens.  

Mariners, please go around these areas or go slow (10 knots or less) inside these areas where groups of right whales have been sighted.

East of Boston DMA is in effect through April 24, 2020.

42 47 N
42 05 N
70 26W
71 23W

East of Boston DMA in effect through April 24 and four mandatory SMAs

East of Boston DMA in effect through April 24 and four mandatory SMAs

Active Seasonal Management Areas (SMAs)

mandatory speed restriction of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) is in effect in the following areas:

Mid-Atlantic: November 1-April 30

Cape Cod Bay: January 1-May 15

Off Race Point: March 1-April 30 

Great South Channel: April 1 - July 31

More info on Seasonal Management Areas

Right Whales Are Migrating 

North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. NOAA is cautioning boaters and fishermen to give these endangered whales plenty of room. We are also asking all fishermen to be vigilant when maneuvering to avoid accidental collisions with whales and remove unused gear from the ocean to help avoid entanglements. Commercial fishermen should use vertical lines with required markings, weak links, and breaking strengths. 

Right Whales in Trouble

North Atlantic right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists estimate there are only about 400 remaining, making them one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.

North Atlantic right whales are NOAA Fisheries' newest Species in the Spotlight. This initiative is a concerted, agency-wide effort to spotlight and save marine species that are among the most at risk of extinction in the near future. 

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 Information

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. 


Recent Feature Stories about Right Whales

Listening for Right Whales in the Gulf of Maine

Make Way for Right Whales

10 Things You Should Know About Right Whales


Media: Contact Allison Ferreira, Regional Office, 978-281-9103