NOAA extends protected zone for endangered right whales

NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — The federal government is extending the duration of a protected area off of Massachusetts to try to keep endangered right whales safe.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has identified a large group of North Atlantic right whales south of Nantucket.

It has been asking mariners to transit the area at 10 knots or less, or to simply travel around the area, through Wednesday. But NOAA said Tuesday an aggregation of 20 of the whales was seen on Jan. 27, so the management area will be extended until Feb. 11.

Right whales are one of the most endangered marine mammals. They are believed to number no more than 411. Entanglements in fishing gear and ship strikes are hazards for the whales.

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