Minister LeBlanc announces new protections for whales

News Release

New management measures in place for 2018 season

Moncton, New Brunswick – Canadians care deeply about our oceans and the marine mammals that they’re home to. For endangered North Atlantic Right Whales, time is of the essence to find solutions that will help ensure the survival of the species.

Today, the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced new fishery management measures for gear configuration for the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery that will reduce risks to these whales and help ensure their survival.

These new fishery measures take into account feedback that was shared at the Ministerial Roundtable on North Atlantic Right Whales hosted by Minister LeBlanc in Moncton, New Brunswick on November 9, 2017. The meeting included representatives of the fishing and marine transportation industries, non-governmental partners, Indigenous community members and scientists. Participants provided a wide array of perspectives and valuable information that added to a more thorough understanding of the situation.

The changes for the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence snow crab fishery include:

  • Reducing the amount of rope floating on the surface of the water.
    • A maximum of 3.7 metres – or two fathoms – of rope can be used when attaching a secondary buoy to a primary buoy.
    • No rope attaching a crab trap to a primary buoy can remain floating on the surface of the water after the crab trap has been set.
  • Marking rope with a colour specific to each fishing area
    • Licence holders are required to mark rope that is used to attach a crab trap to a primary buoy with a color specific to the fishing area in which they are authorized to fish.
  • Identifying buoys with a sequential number (This is in addition to the current requirement to mark buoys with the vessel registration number.)
    • Licence holders are required to identify each primary buoy with a sequential number so individual crab trap can be identified.
  • Mandatory reporting of all lost gear
    • Beginning in 2018 all licence holders are now required to report lost gear.

These management measures will contribute to reducing gear entanglements, tracking lost gear, and better understanding the interactions between whales and fishing gear.  Other suggestions included: modifying fishing gear, adjusting fishing seasons, recovering gear from the ocean floor, and better collaborating with partners.

Additional management measures and actions to protect whales are being considered and will be announced in the near future.

A What We Heard report, which provides an overview of the key ideas discussed at the meeting, is now available. 

Photo legend: The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announces new protections for whales.

Additional multimedia

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard


“Protecting Canada’s endangered whales from further harm is a responsibility that weighs heavily on all of us. Our government is committed to taking meaningful action to address the threats to whales in a way that is also mindful of our partners. The new fishery measures announced today will help prevent gear entanglements in the future. Our government will continue to work to protect our waters and marine life for generations to come.”

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Quick Facts

  • The roundtable meeting brought together over 70 participants and observers attending on behalf of all levels of government, Indigenous communities, industry, academia, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and environmental organizations.

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Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada



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