Since then, 34 right whales have died and 16 have been severely hurt or killed, all mostly as a result of entanglements and vessel strikes.
The NOAA estimates that the new guidelines will reduce the risk of entanglement-related death and serious injury to whales by about 70%. The restrictions are meant to focus on lowering the number of vertical ropes in the water.
The new guidelines will cut down on the number of rope lines that connect buoys to lobster and crab traps.
It also necessitates the use of weaker ropes so that whales can break free more easily if they get entangled.
The new restrictions, according to NOAA, is also applicable to the wide expanse of the ocean where trap rope fishing is forbidden or restricted.
Right whales were previously plentiful along the East Coast, but they were devastated by commercial whaling throughout the 19th century.
They’ve been on the endangered species list since 1970, and environmentalists have recently raised concerns about high mortality and low reproduction in the remnant population.
In a statement, Michael Pentony, regional administrator of NOAA’s Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, stated, “The new measures in this rule will allow the lobster and Jonah crab fisheries to continue to thrive, while significantly reducing the risk to critically endangered right whales of getting seriously injured or killed in commercial fishing gear.”