SANDWICH (AP) — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is asking boaters and fishermen to slow down in Cape Cod Bay and be on the lookout for critically endangered North Atlantic right whales in New England waters.

The agency says researchers have identified 61 right whales in Cape Cod Bay through aerial surveys in the last two weeks. The group includes four mother-calf pairs. The whales represent about 12 percent of the animals’ total population of approximately 500 animals.

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NOAA says it received a report of a possible vessel strike from a boater near the western shoreline of Cape Cod Bay. It reminds boaters that vessels 65 feet and greater must travel at 10 knots or less in the bay and off Race Point. Operators of smaller vessels are asked to voluntarily comply.

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