Voluntary Vessel Speed Restriction Zone Established Southeast of Atlantic City, NJ

December 18, 2018

Vessels in the mid-Atlantic are encouraged to go slowly and watch out for whales.

right_whale__feeding_with_delaware_ii_in_the_background._credit_lisa_conger_noaa_nefsc.jpg

A voluntary vessel speed restriction zone (Dynamic Management Area - DMA) has been established southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey to protect an aggregation of 4 right whales sighted in this area on December 14, 2018.

This DMA is in effect immediately through December 29, 2018. 

Mariners are requested to route around this area or transit through it at 10 knots or less.

Southeast of Atlantic City, NJ DMA coordinates:

39 33 N
38 52 N
074 42 W
073 49 W 

There are also Seasonal Management Areas in effect in the Mid-Atlantic region through April 30, 2019. A mandatory speed restriction of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) is in effect in these areas--Ports of New York/New Jersey, entrance to the Delaware Bay, and entrance to the Chesapeake Bay.

750x500_SE of Atlantic City_181214.jpg

Voluntary Slow Speed Zone Southeast of Atlantic City, New Jersey

Right Whales Are Migrating

North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. With an unprecedented 20 right whale deaths documented in 2017 and 2018, NOAA is cautioning boaters to give these endangered whales plenty of room as they migrate south. We are also asking commercial fishermen to be vigilant when maneuvering to avoid accidental collisions with whales, remove unused gear from the ocean to help avoid entanglements, and use vertical lines with required markings, weak links, and breaking strengths.

Right Whales in Trouble

North Atlantic right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists estimate there are slightly more than 400 remaining, making them one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.

In August 2017, NOAA Fisheries declared the increase in right whale mortalities an “Unusual Mortality Event,” which helps the agency direct additional scientific and financial resources to investigating, understanding, and reducing the mortalities in partnership with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and outside experts from the scientific research community.

More Info

Recent right whale sightings

Find out more about our right whale conservation efforts and the researchers behind those efforts.

Download the Whale Alert app for iPad and iPhone

Acoustic detections in Cape Cod Bay and the Boston TSS

Send a blank message to receive a return email listing all current U.S. DMAs and SMAs.

Details and graphics of all ship strike management zones currently in effect.

Reminder: Approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law. 

Questions? Contact Jennifer Goebel, Regional Office, at 978-281-9175

 

Last updated by Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office on December 18, 2018