Mandatory Ship Reporting System for North Atlantic Right Whales
Collisions with ships are a major source of injury and death of the critically endangered North Altantic right whale. In an effort to reduce the number of ship strikes, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) have developed and implemented Mandatory Ship Reporting Systems. The systems were endorsed by the International Maritime Organization, a specialized organization of the United Nations.
The systems became operational in July 1999. When ships greater than 300 gross tons enter two key right whale habitats--one off the northeast U.S. and one off the southeast U.S.--they are required to report to a shore-based station. In return, ships receive a message about right whales, their vulnerability to ship strikes, precautionary measures the ship can take to avoid hitting a whale, and locations of recent sightings.
- U.S. Coast Pilot Requirements: WhalesNorth and WhalesSouth [pdf]
- MSR Requirements Brochure [pdf]
- USCG Notice to Mariners (1999) [pdf]
- USCG Commandant Instruction 16214.3 (1999) [pdf]
- Steps to take to avoid collisions [pdf]
- Final Rule (Federal Register) [pdf]
- Geographic Boundaries of:
- Right Whale Sightings off the:
- Ship Reporting System Fact Sheet [pdf]
Updated: February 25, 2013