Right Whale Southeast Seasonal Management Area &
WHALESSOUTH Mandatory Ship Reporting - closed for the season
April 15th marked the end of the 2016-2017 right whale calving season in the Southeast Seasonal Management Area (SMA). The Southeast SMA will remain inactive until November 15, 2017. ln addition, vessels entering the WHALESSOUTH Mandatory Ship Reporting area are not required to file a report until the season reopens on November 15, 2017.
The Mid-Atlantic Seasonal Management Areas and the associated speed restrictions of 10 kts will remain in effect for Mid-Atlantic coast ports from Long Island Sound to Savannah through April 30, 2017.
While the 2016-2017 right whale season has ended in the Southeast, vessels are reminded to remain vigilant and please report any late sightings to 1-877-WHALE-HELP or to the Coast Guard via Channel 16.
2016/2017 Season updates
Three new calves were observed in the Southeast this season and there were no known vessel strikes in this area. One juvenile male was successfully disentangled from fishing gear.
Unfortunately another calf born in the Southeast last season (2015/2016) has been found dead in the Northeast. Preliminary findings of bruising were consistent with blunt trauma. Final diagnosis is pending laboratory tests. For more information and updates please visit NOAA Fisheries Greater Atlantic Region's site: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/mediacenter/2017/04/Update%20on%20Right%20Whale%20Found%20Dead%20in%20Cape%20Cod%20Bay.html
There is currently a large aggregation of right whales in the Northeast so if transiting north please heed regional SMAs as well as active Dynamic Management Areas (DMA). See the NOAA site for further information: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/shipstrike/
The Southeast U.S. Implementation Team (SEIT) held its Public Forum on April 12th, 2017. Thank you to those in attendance.
The intention of the Forum is to involve stakeholders in implementation of the North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan, to identify partnerships that can help address priority conservation needs, and to efficiently identify key emerging conservation issues. Key outcomes of SEIT meetings are posted here and will be updated soon:http://sero.nmfs.noaa.gov/protected_resources/right_whale/management_conservation/seit/index.html
There will be another SEIT meeting in the fall of 2017, dates to be determined and announced soon.
As always should you have any questions about this past season or if you have any regulatory issues you would like to discuss, please feel free to contact me. Thank you for your continued efforts to protect these remarkable animals!
LCDR Claire Surrey-Marsden