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Contact: Albert Faria, Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230
Contact: Chris Gabriele, Whale Biologist, 907-697-2664BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge announced today that the whale waters 13-knot vessel speed restrictions in the West Arm of Glacier Bay and around Leland Island will be lifted beginning at 5AM on Thursday, August 10th. The majority of the whales that had been feeding in these areas in recent weeks have moved to other locations. Whale waters in lower Glacier Bay remain unchanged.
Whale waters in lower Glacier Bay are designated annually from May 15 - September 30. In this area (see attached map), a 20-knot vessel speed limit and mid-channel course restriction remain in effect in the waters between the mouth of Glacier Bay and a line drawn between the northern tip of Strawberry Island and the northern tip of Lars Island. This boundary is shown on NOAA nautical charts of Glacier Bay.
Park managers note that there are shifting concentrations of humpback whales elsewhere in Glacier Bay. Boaters are advised to proceed cautiously throughout park waters because whales may surface in unexpected locations, posing a hazard to both the vessel and the whale.
Mariners are advised to verify whale waters designations prior to entering Glacier Bay by telephoning (907) 697-2627 or by contacting KWM20 Bartlett Cove on marine VHF radio. Vessel operators should keep a sharp lookout and reduce speed when necessary. Vessels are prohibited from operating within ¼ nautical mile of a humpback whale in Park waters and are required to reduce speed if they find themselves within ¼ nautical mile of a whale. Speed and course restrictions in whale waters are intended to reduce whale disturbance and lower the risk of whale/vessel collisions, as authorized by Title 36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Subpart N, 13.1174.
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