Boaters that frequent the Gulf of Mexico are taking a victory lap today following a decision by NOAA. Federal regulators rejected the implementation of a "vessel slowdown zone" that would have affected Gulf waters 100 meters to 400 meters deep stretching from Pensacola to Tampa. The proposal was an effort to protect the rare Rice's Whale species. In a statement on their website, NOAA says in part "conservation tasks, including drafting a species recovery plan and conducting a quantitative vessel risk assessment, are all needed before we consider vessel regulations."
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