NOAA ENC’s covering the approaches to the east coast of the USA now alert mariners when they are approaching right whale seasonal management areas. This helps mariners plan to reduce their speeds or avoid the regulated areas altogether. With as few as 400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales in the world. The slow moving whales are highly vulnerable to ship collisions since their migration route crosses major east coast shipping lanes.
The seasonal management areas, as encoded in the ENCs, show the areas where vessels greater than 65 feet in length must travel at 10 knots or less to reduce the risk of collisions with right whales. The ENCs will also provide for an alarm on the ship’s Electronic Chart Display and Information System as vessels enter the speed zone, further alerting the bridge watch stander of speed restrictions. The four small-scale charts are US2EC04M, US2EC03M, US2EC02M, and US2GC12M. They are now available for free download and use at http://www.charts.noaa.gov/ENCs/ENCs.shtml