- Associated Press - Sunday, April 19, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is reminding recreational boaters to slow down for right whales or face substantial penalties.

The agency says it charged four large yachts with violations for traveling at speeds greater than 10 knots in right whale management areas last year. Penalties for the violations ranged from $9,000 to $11,500.

North Atlantic right whales are critically endangered and their western North Atlantic population is only about 450.

The whales migrate this month from calving grounds off the coasts of Florida and Georgia to feeding areas in the Gulf of Maine and northern Atlantic.

Regulations require boats 65 feet or larger to travel at 10 knots or less through the management areas.

Penalties for violations can be as great as $13,200.

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