Ships speed through ‘go slow’ zones meant to protect endangered whales 

Animal News : 80% of ships speed through 'go slow' zones meant to protect endangered whales

More than 80% of ships are speeding through “go slow” zones along the United States coast meant to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales, according to a new report released Thursday by environmental group Oceana.

North Atlantic right whales are on the verge of extinction, with just 340 left; ship strikes are the top causes of death. Based on Oceana’s analysis of boat speeds from November 2020 through July 2022 in slow zones, it found that 84% of boats sped through mandatory slow zones.

The zones are created by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along the East Coast to protect the endangered whales.

“Boats are speeding, and whales are dying — it’s just that simple,” Gib Brogan, campaign director at Oceana, said. “It’s clear that boats are still not abiding by the speed limits and are continuing to make the ocean a dangerous place for North Atlantic right whales.”

“If NOAA wants to save this species from extinction, ships must slow down when these whales are present, and speeding boats must be held accountable,” he added.

NOAA told news agency Reuters that its own evaluation showed 80% of boats stick to speed restrictions in the zones, but added that its methodology was different from the method Oceana used.

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