Vessel Slow Zone Extended Off Atlantic City, New Jersey to Protect Right Whales

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NOAA Fisheries - New England - Mid Atlantic Bulletin

January 20, 2021

Vessel Slow Zone Extended Off Atlantic City to Protect Right Whales

There are now 6 Slow Zones in effect.

NOAA Fisheries announces an extension to the Atlantic City, New Jersey Slow Zone (voluntary vessel speed restriction zone) to protect right whales.

On January 19, 2021, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Atlantic City buoy acoustically detected the presence of right whales 20nm SE of Atlantic City, New Jersey. The Slow Zone was originally announced on January 9. Since protections in this area are set to expire in less than a week, the Slow Zone has been extended through February 3, 2021. 

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

Slow Zone Coordinates:

Southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey, January 19-February 3, 2021

39 25 N
38 44 N
073 44 W
074 36 W

See the coordinates for all the slow zones currently in effect.


Active Seasonal Management Areas November 1- April 30

Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect in the following areas:

Block Island Sound 

Ports of New York/New Jersey

Entrance to the Delaware Bay
(Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington)

Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay 
(Ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore)

Ports of Morehead City and Beaufort, NC

Within a continuous area 20-nm from shore between Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brunswick, Georgia.

Find out more and get the coordinates for each mandatory slow speed zone.

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, as well as other regions along the eastern seaboard.

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  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

Right whales aerial view


Media: Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, 978-281-9175