As the saltwater fishing season begins taking shape in April, there will be an increase of boats fishing for cod and haddock in Cape Cod Bay. With fewer than 400 whales remaining in the wild, boat traffic poses a threat to their survival. There are currently 89 right whales in the Bay, including three mother and calf pairs, according to the Center for Coastal Studies.
Boats of any size can kill or seriously injure a whale. Follow this plan for the upcoming weeks in early April to make sure you aren’t putting whales, or your passengers, at risk of a collision.
- Before You Go Fishing: sign up for right whale email notifications. Follow NOAA on Twitter and Facebook. Check for recent right whale slow zone maps. Download the Whale Alert app for on-the-water notifications.
- Let Others Know: share information about Right Whale Slow Zones with other boaters who might not be aware of how their actions can affect this endangered species. Small boats need to be especially careful of right whales since a collision can be devastating for everyone.
- Go Slow: entering an area where a right whale slow zone is in place? Slow down to 10 knots or less and keep a close watch out for right whales. Also, the law requires everyone to give right whales 500 yards of space (5 football field lengths).
- Report Whale Sightings or Accidental Collisions: call 866-755-6622 to report any right whale sightings, accidental collisions, or if you think a whale is entangled. Your reports help inform other mariners of right whales in the area.
Read more about right whales on the NOAA Fisheries website.