Right whale alert - Cape Cod Bay (fwd)

From: Mike Williamson (williams@whale.wheelock.edu)
Date: Thu Apr 14 2005 - 16:40:30 EDT

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    Dear Shipping Interests and Other Interested Parties,

    Alert to mariners transiting Cape Cod Bay:
    Aerial and shipboard surveys have confirmed the presence of large
    aggregations of North Atlantic right whales in Cape Cod Bay near areas
    of heavy vessel traffic. The whales, including several mother/calf
    pairs, have been observed feeding at or near the surface, making them
    particularly vulnerable to the risk of collision with vessels.
    Concentrations of feeding whales have been sighted along the western
    margin of Cape Cod Bay within five miles of land, and in the approaches
    to Provincetown in the area between Race Point and Long Point. Right
    whales may be oblivious to their surroundings while feeding, and
    aggregations of feeding whales can persist for several days.

    In light of the highly endangered status of this species, the presence
    of several mother/calf pairs, and the vulnerability of these whales to
    collision with vessels, particularly while feeding, the National Marine
    Fisheries Service issues the following request to mariners transiting
    Cape Cod Bay:

    VESSELS SHOULD USE EXTREME CAUTION AND OPERATE AT A SLOW, SAFE SPEED OF
    12 KNOTS OR LESS WHEN CONSISTENT WITH SAFETY OF NAVIGATION.

    Mariners are also reminded that approaching a right whale closer than
    500 yards is a violation of state and Federal laws.

    Charts showing recent sighting locations can be viewed at:
    http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/cgi-bin/rwhale.pl or
    http://whale.wheelock.edu/whalenet-stuff/reportsRW_NE/

    We appreciate your cooperation with our efforts to protect right whales.

    Regards,
    Kristen Koyama

    --
    Kristen Koyama
    NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office
    Protected Resources Division
    PH:  (978) 281-9300 x6531
    FAX: (978) 281-9394
    



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