Ship Traffic Patterns in Right Whale Critical Habitat: Year One of the Mandatory Ship Reporting System
NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-OPR-20
Recognizing that ship strikes are a severe threat to right whales, a group of organizations began in late 1997 to develop a proposal to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to create ship reporting systems for implementation in right whale habitats. The two proposed MSR systems (one for northeast U.S. waters and one for southeast) were collaborative efforts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), International Fund for Animal Welfare (IF AW), and Marine Mammal Commission. The MSR systems require all commercial ships 300 tons or greater to report in to a shore-based station before entering predetermined reporting areas that include federally-designated right whale critical habitats. The ships are required to report their location, speed, destination and other aspects of their operation.