Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Oceana Applauds New Proposed Vessel Requirements to Protect North Atlantic Right Whales from Vessel Strikes

Posted by fidest press agency su sabato, 30 luglio 2022

WASHINGTON — Today, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released a new proposed vessel speed rule that aims to reduce the risk of vessel strikes to critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, of which only around 330 remain. Collisions with vessels are one of two leading causes of injury and death for North Atlantic right whales, which are dark in color and difficult to spot, swim slowly at the water’s surface, and lack a dorsal fin. The previous vessel speed rule was issued in 2008 and this updated proposed rule contains critical changes such as including vessels greater than 35 feet in length (compared to the previous 65 feet), expanding seasonal speed zones, and upgrading current voluntary speed zones to mandatory in areas where whales are seen. While there were strong improvements from the previous rule, Oceana says the proposed rule can go even further by removing the exemptions for federal vessels and the agency committing to effectively enforcing these regulations. NMFS is accepting comments on its proposed rule for 60 days. Studies have found that slowing vessel speeds to 10 knots reduces a North Atlantic right whale’s risk of death from vessel strikes by 80% to 90%. In a January 2021 analysis, NMFS found that vessel compliance with the current vessel speed regulations is inadequate, particularly in voluntary speed zones. In July 2021, Oceana reinforced those findings when it published a report showing that most vessels are exceeding speed limits in areas designed to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales. Oceana analyzed vessel speeds from 2017 to 2020 in management zones along the U.S. Atlantic coast, and found non-compliance was as high as almost 90% in mandatory speed zones, and almost 85% in voluntary areas. While this analysis focused on vessels 65 feet or larger that are required to use public tracking devices and follow the speed rules, vessels of all sizes can cause fatal injuries to North Atlantic right whales. In fact, a calf died last year from propeller wounds, broken ribs, and a fractured skull from a collision with a 54-foot recreational fishing vessel that was not subject to the speed requirement. Font:


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