Voluntary Speed Restriction Zone Implemented After Right Whales Spotted off Race Point

PROVINCETOWN – Federal officials have implemented a new voluntary speed restriction zone in the waters off Cape Cod due to the presence of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Three whales were spotted east of Race Point on May 5. As a result, mariners are asked to travel through the area at 10 knots or less or avoid the speed restriction zone all together.

The specific coordinates are 42 22 N, 41 44 N, 070 27 W, 069 36 W.

The request is in place until May 19.

Mandatory speed restriction zones are in place for Cape Cod Bay until May 15 and the Great South Channel east of Cape Cod until July 31.

Two more voluntary restriction zones are in place off the coast of Boston: 21 nautical miles northeast of the city and 27 nautical miles east of Boston.

The status of the species is bleak, particularly after 17 of the animals were found dead in 2017. Researchers estimate there are about 450 right whales left in the world.

A large portion of the global population comes to the waters off Cape Cod each year to feed.

The whales are expected to head north by the end of May.

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