NANTUCKET, Mass. — The federal government says there is a large aggregation of an endangered species of whale south of Nantucket, and mariners should avoid it for the safety of the animals.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says the group of 100 North Atlantic right whales was seen in the area in mid-January. It’s asking mariners to route around the area or transit through at 10 knots or less. The management area is in effect until Wednesday.

The group of whales represents nearly a quarter of the worldwide population of the animals. The whales were decimated by hunting during the whaling era. They have also suffered heavy mortality and poor reproduction in recent years.

NOAA says the whales are on the move on the Atlantic coast and mariners should be mindful of them.

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