NANTUCKET, Mass. (AP) — Federal ocean managers will implement a protected zone off the coast of Massachusetts until the middle of the month to try to help endangered whales.

The protected area is located south of Nantucket and is designed to protect North Atlantic right whales. The whales are among the most endangered marine mammals, and they have suffered from high mortality and low reproduction in recent years.

Two whales off Marshfield in April 2018 (WBZ)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it’s asking mariners to avoid the protected area altogether or travel through it at 10 knots or less until July 15. The agency says the move will hopefully protect the giant animals from ship strikes, which is a threat to their survival.

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