[MARMAM] Compliance with vessel speed restrictions

Greg Silber - NOAA Federal greg.silber at noaa.gov
Sat Jun 7 15:22:56 PDT 2014

The paper "Silber G.K., Adams J.D., Fonnesbeck C.J. 2014. Compliance with
vessel speed restrictions to protect North Atlantic right whales. PeerJ 2:
e399 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.399" was recently published.

*Abstract*:  Environmental regulations can only be effective if they are
adhered to, but the motivations for regulatory compliance are not always
clear. We assessed vessel operator compliance with a December 2008
regulation aimed at reducing collisions with the endangered North Atlantic
right whale that requires vessels 65 feet or greater in length to travel at
speeds of 10 knots or less at prescribed times and locations along the U.S.
eastern seaboard. Extensive outreach efforts were undertaken to notify
affected entities both before and after the regulation went into effect.
Vessel speeds of 201,862 trips made between November 2008 and August 2013
by 8,009 individual vessels were quantified remotely, constituting a nearly
complete census of transits made by the regulated population. Of these, 437
vessels (or their parent companies), some of whom had been observed
exceeding the speed limit, were contacted through one of four non-punitive
information programs. A fraction (*n* = 26 vessels/companies) received
citations and fines. Despite the efforts to inform mariners, initial
compliance was low (<5% of the trips were completely <10 knots) but
improved in the latter part of the study. Each notification/enforcement
program improved compliance to some degree and some may have influenced
compliance across the entire regulated community. Citations/fines appeared
to have the greatest influence on improving compliance in notified
vessels/companies, followed in order of effectiveness by enforcement-office
information letters, monthly summaries of vessel operations, and direct
at-sea radio contact. Trips by cargo vessels exhibited the greatest change
in behavior followed by tanker and passenger vessels. These results have
application to other regulatory systems, especially where remote monitoring
is feasible, and any setting where regulatory compliance is sought.

The paper can be found at this open access site:

Greg Silber
Office of Protected Resources
NOAA Fisheries
Silver Spring, MD, USA
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