Slow Zones Extended Protect Right Whales: Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

NOAA Fisheries - New England - Mid Atlantic Bulletin

March 17, 2021

Slow Zones Extended Protect Right Whales: Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket

On March 16, 2021, the New England Aquarium aerial survey team observed two aggregations of right whales. The aggregations were observed south of Martha’s Vineyard, MA and south of Nantucket, Island, MA. Both the Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Nantucket Island, MA Slow Zones are extended through March 31, 2021. 

Mariners are requested to route around these areas or transit through it at 10 knots or less.

Slow Zone Coordinates:

South of Martha's Vineyard, MA, March 7-31, 2021

41 21 N
40 41 N
070 15 W
071 06 W 

South of Nantucket, MA, March 7-31, 2021

41 23 N
40 40 N
069 39 W
070 35 W 

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

slow zone

Active Seasonal Management Areas 

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

Cape Cod Bay, January 1 - May 15

Off Race Point, March 1 - April 30

November 1 - April 30

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