New Slow Zone off Virginia to Protect Right Whales
On March 3, 2021, an observer on board the HDR Naval research vessel observed the presence of right whales east of Virginia Beach, Virginia. The Virginia Beach Slow Zone is in effect through March 18, 2021.
Mariners are requested to route around this area or transit through it at 10 knots or less.
Slow Zone Coordinates:
East of Virginia Beach, March 3-18, 2021
37 10 N
36 32 N
074 51 W
075 40 W
Active Seasonal Management Areas November 1- April 30
Mandatory speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (50 CFR 224.105) are in effect in the following areas:
Block Island Sound
Ports of New York/New Jersey
Entrance to the Delaware Bay
(Ports of Philadelphia and Wilmington)
Entrance to the Chesapeake Bay
(Ports of Hampton Roads and Baltimore)
Ports of Morehead City and Beaufort, NC
Within a continuous area 20-nm from shore between Wilmington, North Carolina, to Brunswick, Georgia.
Give Right Whales Room
North Atlantic right whales are on the move along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. NOAA is cautioning boaters and fishermen to give these endangered whales plenty of room. We are also asking all fishermen to be vigilant when maneuvering to avoid accidental collisions with whales and remove unused gear from the ocean to help avoid entanglements. Commercial fishermen should use vertical lines with required markings, weak links, and breaking strengths.
Right Whales in Trouble
North Atlantic right whales are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Scientists estimate there are only about 400 remaining, making them one of the rarest marine mammals in the world.
North Atlantic right whales are NOAA Fisheries’ newest Species in the Spotlight. This initiative is a concerted, agency-wide effort to spotlight and save marine species that are among the most at risk of extinction in the near future.
In August 2017, NOAA Fisheries declared the increase in right whale mortalities an “Unusual Mortality Event,” which helps the agency direct additional scientific and financial resources to investigating, understanding, and reducing the mortalities in partnership with the Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans, and outside experts from the scientific research community.
Find out more about our right whale conservation efforts and the researchers behind those efforts.
Download the Whale Alert app for iPad and iPhone
Details and graphics of all vessel strike management zones currently in effect.
Reminder: Approaching a right whale closer than 500 yards is a violation of federal and state law.