NOAA Creates Protected Zone for Endangered Whales

Jul 5, 2018

Right whales: A right whale and her calf are shown in this Wildlife Trust photo on NOAA.gov.
Credit NOAA

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will implement a protected zone off the coast of Massachusetts until the middle of the month to try to help endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The protected area is located south of Nantucket and is designed to protect right whales. The whales are among the most endangered marine mammals, and they have suffered from high mortality and low reproduction in recent years.

There are as few as 360 right whales remaining.

Their critical habitat is around Cape Cod and in the Gulf of Maine, and just off of New Hampshire's coastline, according to NOAA Fisheries. They can be found from Nova Scotia to the Southeast Atlantic coast, where pregnant females travel to give birth and nurse their young.

NOAA says it's asking mariners to avoid the protected area altogether or travel through it at 10 knots or less until July 15.

The agency says the move will hopefully protect the giant animals from ship strikes, which is a threat to their survival.