Effectiveness of mandatory vessel speed limits for protecting North Atlantic right whales

  • Published source details Laist D.W., Knowlton A.R. & Pendleton D.E. (2014) Effectiveness of mandatory vessel speed limits for protecting North Atlantic right whales. Endangered Species Research, 23, 133-147.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Set and enforce vessel speed limits

Action Link
Marine and Freshwater Mammal Conservation
  1. Set and enforce vessel speed limits

    A before-and-after study in 1990–2013 of 10 coastal areas in the North Atlantic Ocean, USA (Laist et al. 2014) found that after setting vessel speed limits, fewer North Atlantic right whale Eubalaena glacialis deaths caused by vessel collisions were recorded than before speed limits were set. The total number of right whale deaths in the 10 areas caused by vessel collisions was lower during five years after speed limits were put in place (0 deaths) than during 18 years before (total 13 deaths). In December 2008, mandatory speed limits (≤18.5 km/h for vessels ≥19.8 m long) were put in place in 10 areas with key habitats for North Atlantic right whales (migration routes, feeding areas, calving grounds) during periods of peak whale occurrence. Numbers of whale deaths caused by vessel collisions inside (or within 83 km from) the 10 areas during 18 years before (1990–2008) and five years after (2009–2013) speed limits were set were extracted from national databases.


    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

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