December 2nd 2015

The Coast Guard is helping to get the word out about the importance and effectiveness of speed limits and the responsible use of the safety exception as they relate to the North Atlantic Right Whale. Some of the annual seasonal speed restrictions in the mid-Atlantic areas came into effect Nov. 1 and will remain in effect until April 30, 2016. “The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s robust and practical enforcement strategy has yielded very positive results, particularly on approaches to pilot stations,” said Rear Adm. Paul Thomas, assistant commandant for prevention policy.

“The safety exception is an important part of the process. We greatly value the input provided by professional mariners, who benefit from a reasonable enforcement approach that considers the challenges of ensuring safe navigation in confined waters.”

NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is conducting a survey of its North Atlantic Right Whale Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) system. The purpose of the survey is to evaluate and improve the MSR program.

If you are a mariner operating or working on a vessel 300GT or greater on the east coast of the United States, or who has operated in this area in the past, NMFS is seeking your input on a short, nine-question survey. The survey asks for the mariner’s opinions and feedback on the MSR system so that NMFS can improve the system to better suit mariners’ needs. Completing the survey is expected to take fewer than 10 minutes. All responses are anonymous and confidential.

To take the survey, go to:
“The MSR has been in place for over a decade and has been an important conservation measure for the depleted North Atlantic right whale. However, we’d like to get mariners’ views on whether the information provided through the program is useful to them,” said Greg Silber, coordinator of recovery activities for endangered large whales in NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Protected Resources.