State coastal agency accepts comments re: NOAA’s Proposed Rule to Amend the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule


MOREHEAD CITY - The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management is accepting public comment on a request for review of a federal consistency submission from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) Office of Protected Resources proposing amendments to the North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule (“speed rule”).

The proposed action includes:

  1. Modifying the boundaries and timing seasonal speed restrictions of 10 knots or less (renamed as Seasonal Speed Zones or SSZs) to better align with areas characterized by elevated collision-related mortality risk;
  2. Creating a Dynamic Speed Zone (DSZ) program to implement temporary mandatory speed restrictions when whales are known to be present outside active SSZs;
  3. Extending the size threshold of regulated vessels to include most vessels 35 ft (10.7 m) or greater in length; and
  4. Updating the speed rule’s safety deviation provision. See 87 FR 46921 (August 1, 2022).

A more thorough description of the proposed federal actions may be examined at the NMFS_CZMA Consistency Determination Letter for Proposed Rule to Amend the NARW Vessel Strike Reduction Rule document linked on this page.

The public may comment in writing or at a meeting scheduled for July 23, 2024, at the Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell St., Morehead City. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. and run until 6:30 p.m. or until comments are concluded (whichever comes first). Each speaker will be allowed to comment for up to 3 minutes.

The division will accept written comments on the proposal until 5 p.m. on July 31, 2024. Written comments should be mailed to Daniel Govoni, Federal Consistency Coordinator, 400 Commerce Avenue, Morehead City, NC 28557 or emailed to Please put “North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule” in the subject line. All comments will be considered in developing the state’s consistency response. Notice of the decision regarding this matter will be provided upon request.

WHO: N.C. Division of Coastal Management

WHAT: Public Meeting on Consistency Submission from NOAA

WHEN: July 23, 2024, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. or until comments are concluded (whichever comes first).

WHERE: Crystal Coast Civic Center

               3505 Arendell Street

               Morehead City, NC 28557