In this March 28, 2018, file photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts. Credit: Michael Dwyer / AP

NANTUCKET, Massachusetts — Federal officials are implementing a new slow zone off Massachusetts to try to protect a rare species of whale.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration created the slow zone south of Nantucket on Sept. 11. It’s designed to protect North Atlantic right whales and will be in effect until Sept. 26.

The whales number only about 360 and they are vulnerable to collisions with ships. NOAA has asked mariners to avoid the slow zone area altogether or transit through it at 10 knots or less.

The whales are also the impetus for new restrictions on the East Coast lobster and crab fishing industries because they are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.