NORFOLK, Va. — The U.S. Navy is doing more to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Starting in mid-November, the Navy will expand areas off the East Coast where it limits the use of sonar and explosives. It also will broadcast more information on sightings to prevent military and commercial ships from striking right whales.

Right whales number only about 440 and suffer from poor reproduction. The biggest threats to the species are commercial ship strikes and fishing-gear entanglements.

The Navy’s efforts comply with federal laws aimed at protecting the whales. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued final approval of the Navy’s plans on Wednesday.

The Natural Resources Defense Council said the Navy’s efforts fail to go far enough. For instance, the group said sonar can still harass the struggling species.

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