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Contact: Albert Faria, Chief Ranger, 907-697-2230
Contact: Chris Gabriele, Whale Biologist, 907-697-2664BARTLETT COVE, ALASKA – Today, Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve Superintendent Philip Hooge announced that the boundaries of the temporary whale waters area implemented on June 30th have been adjusted to accommodate a shift in whale distribution in the West Arm. A high concentration of whales has also made it necessary to implement a 13-knot speed restriction within a 1-mile zone around the Marble Islands and Leland Island. At least 20 humpback whales have been observed in these areas combined.
These changes go into effect beginning at 5AM Wednesday, July 12. As shown on the attached map, the newly designated whale waters are defined as follows:
Entrance to the West Arm - 13 knot speed restriction only: This area is defined as a polygon with the following corners:
• Tlingit Point
• Geikie Rocks
• The mouth of Tidal Inlet
• The mouth of Blue Mouse Cove, including the waters of Blue Mouse Cove
Marble Islands and Leland Islands – 13 knot speed restriction only: This area is defined as a one-mile buffer surrounding the South Marble Island, North Marble Island and Leland Island.
Current whale waters also include:
Lower Glacier Bay - 20 knot speed and course restriction: Annually from May 15 – September 30, a 20 knot speed and mid-channel course restriction are in effect in the Lower Bay. This area includes all 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. 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.
Note that there are also smaller concentrations of whales elsewhere in Glacier Bay. It is important for vessel operators to 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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