Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Notifying speeding mariners lowers ship speeds in areas with North Atlantic right whales

Date:
June 3, 2014
Source:
PeerJ
Summary:
There are only around 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today. In an effort to further protect these critically endangered animals, a recent NOAA regulation required large vessels to reduce speed in areas seasonally occupied by the whales. The policy of notifying -- but not necessarily citing -- speeding vessels in protected areas was effective in lowering their speeds, helping to protect these magnificent creatures from ship collisions, while keeping punitive fines to mariners to a minimum.

There are only around 500 North Atlantic right whales alive today. In an effort to further protect these critically endangered animals, a recent NOAA regulation required large vessels to reduce speed in areas seasonally occupied by the whales. The policy of notifying -- but not necessarily citing -- speeding vessels in

protected areas was effective in lowering their speeds, helping to protect these magnificent creatures from ship collisions, while keeping punitive fines to mariners to a minimum.

A NOAA regulation, instituted in December 2008, requires vessels 65 feet or greater in length to travel at speeds of 10 knots or less in areas seasonally occupied by the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale. In a NOAA-led study, published today, researchers examined the compliance with speed regulations by 8,009 individual vessels that made more than 200,000 trips between November 2008 and August 2013, mostly in areas where the endangered whales are known to travel. All vessels were remotely monitored by radio signals sent from the vessels themselves.

Virtually all ships received notification of the speed regulations. The owners or operators of 437 of these ships received non-punitive notifications of violations and were reminded of the regulation, or cited after they were observed violating the restrictions. Twenty-six of them received citations and were fined.

Compliance with the regulation was low at the beginning of the regulatory period but steadily improved, according to the study. Vessels that received fines or citations later showed improved compliance.

Informational letters issued by NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement, monthly public summaries of vessel operations, and direct at-sea radio contact also were effective in keeping the vessels in compliance with the law.

"We've shown that notifying the mariners of their responsibilities, along with issuing citations when applicable, results in widespread compliance," said Donna Wieting, director of the NOAA Fisheries Office of Protected Resources.

"We appreciate working with the industry as a trusted partner in conserving natural resources and endangered species."

Cargo vessels showed the greatest improvement in compliance, followed by tankers and passenger vessels. According to the article, the results could likely be applied in other settings where remote monitoring for compliance is feasible.

"The novel way to remotely monitor and enforce regulatory compliance in a large international community and on a broad geographic scale has been truly impressive," said Bruce Buckson, director of NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement.

"This is evidenced by the quantified increase in compliance rates. And increased compliance equals better protection."

North Atlantic Right Whales, among the most endangered of marine mammals, are highly vulnerable to collisions with ships. The two biggest threats they face are ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear.

Scientists estimate that there are as few as 500 of these whales alive today. NOAA scientists have not seen one critically endangered right whale that has been struck by a large vessel in the areas where the ship strike reduction rule applies, since it went into effect.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by PeerJ. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Gregory K. Silber, Jeffrey D. Adams, Christopher J. Fonnesbeck. Compliance with vessel speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic right whales. PeerJ, 2014; 2: e399 DOI: 10.7717/peerj.399

Cite This Page:

PeerJ. "Notifying speeding mariners lowers ship speeds in areas with North Atlantic right whales." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092416.htm>.
PeerJ. (2014, June 3). Notifying speeding mariners lowers ship speeds in areas with North Atlantic right whales. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092416.htm
PeerJ. "Notifying speeding mariners lowers ship speeds in areas with North Atlantic right whales." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140603092416.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins