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:
We appreciate your cooperation with our efforts to protect right whales.
-- Kristen Koyama NOAA Fisheries Northeast Regional Office Protected Resources Division PH: (978) 281-9300 x6531 FAX: (978) 281-9394
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