For the first time since its inception on December 9, 2008, NOAA has issued notices of violations against seven vessels that have allegedly failed to meet the speed limitations of The Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule. The accused vessels were targeted for traveling in violation multiple times through the seasonal management areas and face civil administrative penalties ranging from $16,500 to $49,500, depending on the frequency of the violations.
The rule aims to reduce the number of North Atlantic right whales injured or killed from collisions with large ships by requiring vessels of 65 feet or greater to slow to speeds of 10 knots or less in designated management areas along the East Coast. With as few as 350 North Atlantic right whales left in existence, the whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.
More information on the rule and right whales can be found on NOAA’s website HERE.