NOAA National Marine Fisheries Proposed Rule Change (North Atlantic Right Whales)



NOAA Fisheries is proposing to modify the Seasonal Management Areas along the U.S. Atlantic East Coast to create Seasonal Speed Zones to reduce the risk of lethal collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales. The proposed rule will modify the boundaries and seasonal timing; change vessel size to include all vessels greater than or equal to 35 ft.; and, will restrict vessels within active Seasonal Speed Zones to 10 knot maximum speed.
  • Impact for users of Port Canaveral – Proposed Seasonal Speed Zone from Nov 15 – Apr 15 will extend from Port Canaveral out to sea approximately 5 nm and south to approximately Melbourne (see attached map)
  • NOAA proposing expanded boundary, timing and reduced vessel speeds to mitigate risk of lethal collisions​
  • Modifications as proposed will impact ALL vessels larger than 35 ft. (vs. current 65 ft.)​
  • If rule succeeds, changes will impact Canaveral inlet navigation, safe maneuverability​ of vessels and transit times in/out of Port Canaveral
NOAA Fisheries is hosting informational webinars on the proposed Amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule. The last webinar was held on Wednesday, August 24, 2022.
More info available here:
  • NOAA Fisheries invites public comments on the proposed rule by October 31, 2022. You may submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Enter NOAA-NMFS-2022-0022 in the search box to comment on the proposed rule.

Map of NOAA Right Whale Seasonal Speed Zones