September 8, 2017 - Ottawa
The Government of Canada is concerned about the deaths of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. We continue to work with our partners to enforce the speed restriction for vessels in the area.
On August 11, 2017, Transport Canada took action to protect whales by implementing a temporary mandatory slow down of vessels 20 metres or more to a maximum of 10 knots. The speed restriction applies to vessels travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.
In an effort to ensure compliance, Transport Canada, working in partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard and its Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centres, is monitoring marine traffic in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Overall, the shipping industry has been proactive in respecting the speed limits. In some instances, vessels have exceeded the 10-knot limit, most of which were slightly higher for a short amount of time. These are being reviewed on a case by-case-basis by Transport Canada. The department is examining all reported cases of non-compliance.
In one case, Transport Canada is now taking action by issuing a $6,000 penalty to the Seven Seas Navigator vessel. The vessel owner has 30 days to pay the penalty or to ask the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to review the facts of the violation or the amount of the penalty.
The Government of Canada is working with the maritime industry to find more permanent solutions to protect the North Atlantic right whales.
“Canada takes the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered species very seriously. The recent deaths of several North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are extremely concerning. Transport Canada will not hesitate to enforce the speed restriction in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.”
The Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport, Ottawa
Transport Canada, Ottawa