Marine Experts Applaud Vessel Speed Regulations

Three North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay.
CREDIT: Brigid McKenna/Center for Coastal Studies, under NOAA research permit #19315-01

HYANNIS – Marine animal experts with the New England Aquarium have applauded new vessel speed regulations recently implemented by federal officials.

The proposed restrictions are meant to reduce vessel strikes with North Atlantic Right Whales, one of the leading causes of death for the critically endangered animal.

The changes include expanding existing areas with mandatory seasonal speed restriction zones, as well as making them last for longer periods of time.

Aquarium officials said such policies and initiatives will become more and more vital as warming waters shift marine species further north to Cape Cod’s waters.

They also applauded the new “Ropeless Roadmap”, an initiative by NOAA to move the fishing industry towards equipment less likely to entangle whales, another leading cause of death for the animals.

“The Roadmap engages fishermen from the outset of the research, development, and testing process, a vital component to successful implementation,” said New England Aquarium Research Scientist Heather Pettis.

“This strategy reflects the opportunity to make a generational transformation and acknowledges there is much work to be done to address barriers to implementation, including financial and permitting challenges.”

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native currently living in Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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