Extended: Slow Speed Zone South of Nantucket to Protect Right Whales

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NOAA Fisheries - New England - Mid Atlantic Bulletin

October 5, 2020

Extended: Vessel Slow Speed Zone South of Nantucket to Protect Right Whales

In Effect to October 20

NOAA Fisheries announces an extension to the previously triggered voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area  or DMA) south of Nantucket. 

This DMA was originally triggered by an August 31, 2020, sighting of an aggregation of right whales and previously extended until October 9, 2020. A  New England Aquarium aerial survey observed an aggregation of whales in this area on October 4. Since the current DMA is set to expire in less than a week we are extending it until October 20, 2020. 

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

South of Nantucket DMA is in effect to October 20.

41 16 N
40 32 N
069 37 W
070 28 W


Give Right Whales Room

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

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

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

Spread the Word!

All boaters, or interested parties, can sign up for email notifications by clicking here and selecting "Right Whale Slow Zones" under the Regional New England/Mid-Atlantic subscription topics. You can also follow us on Facebook (@NOAAFisheriesNEMA) and Twitter (@NOAAFish_GARFO)  for announcements.

Watch our video on Right Whale Slow Zones.   

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 Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175