Following the recent deaths of seven North Atlantic Right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Fisheries and Oceans Canada has highlighted a series of actions underway, the Canadian Chamber of Shipping informed.
The current actions include:
- Issuing a notice requesting that mariners voluntarily reduce speed along the Laurentian channel in shipping lanes between the Magdalen Islands to the Gaspé peninsula until September 30, 2017
- Issuing a notice to the commercial fishing industry in the Gulf of St. Lawrence asking them to watch for whales and to report any sightings;
- Broadcasting notices on the marine radio system to request that shipping and fishing industries be on alert for whales
- Implementing an immediate partial closure within the snow crab fishing area where whales are known to frequent
The Chamber informs that the population of endangered North Atlantic righ whales is around 500.
Earlier this week, DFO and partners responded to a whale entanglement in the area, where one of the partners, Mr. Joe Howlett of the Campobello Whale Rescue, lost his life while attempting to free the whale.
The country has expressed again in the past its commitment to marine mammals protection. Under its commitment in reducing underwater noise, the Port of Vancouver, British Columbia, requested all vessels transiting Haro Strait to reduce their speed to 11 knots (speed through the water) between Discovery Island at the southern end, and Henry Island at the northern end, starting from August 7 to October 6, 2017.