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Warning: Slow down for whales

To protect right whales in the northwest Atlantic—one of the most depleted cetacean populations worldwide—the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has proposed seasonal speed limits for large, ocean-going vessels. Currently, ship strikes pose the greatest threat to the population, NOAA says, with at least one or two deaths reported from such collisions each year.

Under the new proposal, ships 65 feet and longer could travel no faster than 10 knots in eastern U.S. waters near areas where the whales have been spotted. Normally, such vessels travel at 15 knots or faster.

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