NOAA introduces speed rule to protect right whales

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The National Ocean & Atmospheric Administration issued a new regulation that, for the first time, will require large ships to reduce speeds in order to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales.

“The ship strike rule, based on science, is a major addition to NOAA’s arsenal of protections for this endangered species,” said Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

The new rule requires vessels to travel at 10 knots or less during the seasons whales are expected to be present in designated areas along the East Coast. It will be up for renewal in five years, after scientists assess its effectiveness. The rule goes into effect in early December, 60 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

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