United States Stewardship Measures

Three of the five known habitat areas for right whales are along the urbanized coast of the United States. Because the recovery of the species has been hindered by human caused mortalities, stewardship measures have been implemented or proposed in the United States to reduce the impact on right whales of human activities such as shipping and fishing.

Following is a brief overview of some of the primary measures taken or being considered by the United States:

North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan
Critical Habitat Designation - Designated three critical habitats under the Endangered Species Act by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for the North Atlantic right whale in the southeast United States, Cape Cod Bay and Great South Channel.
Early Warning System (EWS) - Aerial surveys are flown from December 1st through March 30th in the southeast United States between Brunswick, Georgia, and St. Augustine, Florida, to alert ships of the presence of right whales.
NMFS prohibits all vessels from approaching closer than 457 m (500 yards) from North Atlantic right whales unless in possession of a scientific permit.
Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan is developed to reduce injuries and deaths due to incidental entanglement in fishing gear in large whales including right whales.
Mandatory Ship Reporting (MSR) - Adopted by International Maritime Organization (IMO) and implemented by NMFS and United States Coast Guard.

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