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Ships Required to Slow in Right Whale Waters

Ships over 65 feet in length are now required by law to slow below 10 knots in areas where right whales and other endangered species live.

The National Marine Fisheries Service’s approval on Wednesday now requires ships within 20 miles of the Atlantic coastline from Massachusetts to Florida to slow down, reported The New York Times.

“This has been a really long, ongoing process, but it’s a significant new step in protecting right whales,? Connie Barclay, a spokeswoman for the fisheries service said.

Scientists estimate there are about 400 right whales left in existence.

“The species is at such low numbers that even the loss of one female is detrimental to the species and could keep them on a downward trend,? said Vicki Cornish, vice president of marine wildlife conservation at Ocean Conservancy.

The new restriction comes with a five year expiration date; unless scientists can prove that the new method is improving the right whale population, reported The New York Times.