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Speed Zone Comment Period Ends Today

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The period to comment on NOAA’s proposed 10-knot speed restrictions for vessels 35 feet and larger to reduce North Atlantic right whale strikes along the Eastern Seaboard ends today.

Viking Yacht Co. held a press conference regarding the proposed rule during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on Friday, with a panel that included Viking president and CEO Pat Healey, NMMA president Frank Hugelmeyer, BoatUS Foundation president Chris Edmonston, IGFA president Jason Schratweiser, Center for Sportfishing Policy president Jeff Angers, and Viking director of government affairs and sustainability John DePersenaire.

“Right whales are in desperate need of our help,” Healey said. “Why would you leave out the biggest sector that can help the most — the marine industry? There are ways to help right whales and ways to identify where they are. We can tag them — we’ve been tagging marlin and sharks for years.”

Healey added that standing up against the proposed rule will require the efforts of everyone in the industry. “We need all of you,” Healey said. “It’s important that we get out this message. You’ve done a lot these last 30 days, but we need more.”

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“I believe this is one of the greatest threats to our industry sector or any industry sector I’ve been a part of,” Hugelmeyer said. “It is an unprecedented government overreach. The idea that you have to completely decapitate or decimate an industry sector to save a whale is a false choice.”

Hugelmeyer added: “No boater in the industry wants to see the right whale go extinct. We have a special connection to the ocean and the wildlife — we’re the original conservationists. But there are several aspects of these proposed rules that are untenable, especially the fact that [this] was all done behind closed doors without any input form the recreational boating or fishing industry. We have to stand up to this and be prepared to do whatever it takes to stop it.”

Today is the final day to comment about the proposed rule. Click here to leave a comment.

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