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Senator Kerry Praises NOAA's Ship Strike Reduction Rule

Press Release

Location: Boston, MA


Senator John Kerry today praised officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for issuing a new regulation that will reduce the risk of ship collisions with endangered North Atlantic right whales.

The ship strike reduction rule will require large ships to reduce speeds to ten knots in designated areas along the East Coast. The rule only applies during the seasons whales are expected to be present to feed, reproduce and migrate.

"This is a victory for one of the most endangered creatures on the planet," said Senator John Kerry. "There are only 300 right whales left alive today, and ship strikes are one of the two leading causes of right whale injury and death. I have been fighting for the release of this rule for the past two years, and I am proud to say that the United States can finally declare that help is on the way."

"Several locally impacted industries, such as ferry operators and whale watching operations, have weighed in during the four-year rulemaking process. I am pleased that their concerns are reflected in the final rule, and I am confident that they will continue to play a vital role in protecting right whales and supporting coastal economies," Kerry continued.

The rule will go into effect in early December, 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Senator Kerry has led the fight in the Senate for right whale protection and conservation. On August 10, 2007, he sent a letter to President Bush urging that the ship strike rule, which had been held up for over six months, be finalized as soon as possible. On February 15, 2008, he introduced legislation that would force the Bush Administration to release the long-overdue rule. That legislation was passed out of the Commerce Committee on July 22, 2008.

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