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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 Atlantic right whale. In an effort to reduce the number of ship strikes, NOAA and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) 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. They are jointly operated by the USCG and NOAA Fisheries, with assistance from NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

Reporting Requirements

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.


More Information

Updated: November, 2015