Boating Industry Leaders Urge Biden Administration to Press Pause on Proposed Vessel Speed Restrictions

More than 70 leaders across the recreational boating industry this week sent a letter to the Biden administration asking that the Administration take swift action and pause its proposed North Atlantic Right Whale Vessel Strike Reduction Rule, citing numerous significant flaws with the proposal and lack of engagement with relevant stakeholders, including the recreational boating and fishing industry.

The proposed rule would broaden the current 10-knot (11.5 mph) speed restriction to include vessels 35 feet and larger (down from 65 feet); expand the go-slow zones from discrete calving areas to essentially the whole Atlantic Coast and out as far as 90 miles from shore; and extend these zone restrictions for as long as seven months a year.

The letter states, “NOAA’s proposal lacks input from key stakeholders – including marine businesses and boat manufacturers, marinas, and recreational anglers – and severely underestimates the economic impact of its proposed rule.” The letter continues, “Left unchanged, the proposal would curtail thousands of recreational boating and fishing trips each year, jeopardizing billions of dollars of economic impact, thousands of jobs and businesses, and the pastimes of tens of millions of Americans.”

As America’s original conservationists, recreational anglers and boaters proactively support science-based efforts to conserve marine ecosystems. In many cases, the industry has offered the constructive input that was ultimately used to develop management solutions that meet conservation goals and balance access. A pause would allow time for additional analysis of significant flaws within the rule and potential new alternatives to be developed in collaboration with the recreational fishing and boating industry.

The letter may be viewed here.

NMMA encourages stakeholders to take action on its grassroots advocacy platform, Boating United.

For questions or additional information, please contact Clay Crabtree, NMMA director of federal government relations, at [email protected]