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Regulation and Enforcement

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

PUBLIC COMMENTS RE VESSEL SPEED RULE ASSESSMENT AND REBUTTAL


American Pilots’ Association


APA urges NOAA to...exclude these dredged channels along the East Coast from the SMA speed restrictions and enforcement action... a reasonable and in fact very minor alteration to NOAAs current SMAs. The area of the channels APA is proposing for exclusion from the SMAs... is only 8.8 square miles out of more than 17,000 square miles of protected area, a tiny fraction of 1% of the entire protective area.


Savannah Pilots Association


We urge NOAA to eliminate the speed restrictions for commercial vessels while operating within a dredged entrance channel. There exists less than eight square miles of entrance channels between the ports of New York and Jacksonville, an exorbitantly small geographic area. By eliminating the speed restrictions within those channels for commercial vessels the rule becomes much simpler for Mariners to understand and easier to enforce.


Rebuttal:


The proposal to exclude entrance channels misses the central fact that these are exactly the areas that should be the most protective. It is in entrance channels specifically where right whales are at the highest risk. The areas that the pilots would like to see excluded are precisely where shipping is the most highly concentrated, and where the speed rule is needed the most.


Please see: Marine Mammal Commission and Southern Environmental Law Center’s public comments.


Also: "Court Rejects Federal Attempt to Sink Right Whale Ship Strike Lawsuit"(WDC); see lawsuit brought by Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Law Foundation, Whale and Dolphin Conservation and Defenders of Wildlife challenges the National Marine Fisheries Service’s delay in responding to rulemaking petitions on vessel strikes.


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