Speeding ships killing endangered N. Atlantic right whales: study

The non-profit organization Oceana analyzed ship and boat speeds from 2017 to 2020 in speed zones established by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) along the US Atlantic coast.Collisions with vessels are one of two leading causes of injury and death for North Atlantic right whales, with research showing that slowing vessel speeds to 10 knots (11.5 mph, 18.5 kph) reduces the risk of death by 80 to 90 percent.NOAA has created two types of zones to protect the endangered species: permanent Seasonal Management Area (SMA) speed zones in places where whales are expected to be, and temporary voluntary Dynamic Management Area (DMA) speed zones when a whale is spotted.The analysis was based on speed and location data collected by Global Fishing Watch, an international nonprofit organization founded  by Oceana in partnership with Google and  SkyTruth.The zone with the highest levels of non-compliance of 90 percent was located in a corridor between North Carolina  and Georgia. Two-thirds of vessels exceeding the limits operated under foreign flags, and cargo vessels were the leading offenders.In February, NOAA reported a calf died from propeller wounds, broken ribs, and a fractured skull from a collision with a 54-foot (16.4 meter) recreational fishing vessel.  North Atlantic right whales were named for being the "right" kind of whale to hunt —  because they were found close to shore, swim slowly and float when dead. Whaling North Atlantic right whales was banned in 1935, leading their numbers to bounce back to as many as 483, but the progress has since been reversed.ia/dw…

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