Ships must slow down more often to save whales, feds say

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government says vessels off the East Coast must slow down more often to help save a vanishing species of whale. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration made the announcement via new proposed rules designed to prevent the North Atlantic right whale from colliding with ships. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fishing gear are the two biggest threats to the giant animals, which number less than 340 and are falling in population. Efforts to save the whales have long focused on fishing gear, especially that used by East Coast lobster fishermen. The proposed vessel speed rules signal that the government wants the shipping industry to also bear more of the burden.