The US Coast Guard has told vessel operators to restrict the speed of their ships in Atlantic waters where North Atlantic whales are known to migrate, calve and nurse.

According to the Right Whale Ship Strike Reduction Rule, vessels 65ft or longer must travel at 10kt or less in coastal waters from Rhode Island to Georgia, from November 2009.

The speed restriction also applies to waters off New England and the south-eastern US, where whales gather seasonally.

Other areas covered under the rule include Cape Cod Bay, Off Race Point and Great South Channel of New England.