Subject: Right whale:DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Nationa (fwd)

Michael Williamson (
Sat, 15 Feb 1997 16:30:06 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 97 12:40:00 GMT 

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and ...

  WASHINGTON,DC (FedNet,13-FEB-97) -- Disturbance is identified in the
Final Recovery Plan for the Northern Right Whale (Recovery Plan) as
among the principal human-induced factors impeding recovery of the
northern right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) (NMFS, 1991). NMFS is
issuing this interim final rule to restrict approaches within 500 yards
(460 m) of a right whale, whether by vessel, aircraft or other means,
in an attempt to reduce the current level of disturbance and the
potential for vessel interaction and injury. This rule requires right
whale avoidance measures if a vessel or aircraft is within the 500-yard
(460 m) restricted area. Generally, vessels are required to immediately
depart from the area at a slow, safe speed in a direction away from the
whale. Exceptions are provided for emergency situations, where certain
authorizations are provided for aircraft operations (unless the
aircraft is conducting whale watch activities), for certain right whale
disentanglement/rescue efforts and investigations, and for a vessel
restricted in its ability to maneuver and unable to comply with the
right whale avoidance measures. EFFECTIVE DATE: March 17, 1997.