NANTUCKET, Mass. — Federal officials are asking large commercial fishing vessels to slow down after nearly two dozen North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the waters off Nantucket.

The Boston Globe reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a statement Friday saying a voluntary speed restriction zone has been established 30 nautical miles south of Nantucket. It says 22 right whales have been seen in that area.

Mariners are asked to go around the area or to pass through it at 10 knots or less. The request remains in effect through Feb. 5.

The statement also says mandatory speed restrictions are in effect on Cape Cod Bay through May 15, and in waters off Block Island in Rhode Island, New York and Philadelphia through April 30.

Information from: The Boston Globe,

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