June 26, 2019 Ottawa
Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport issued the following statement:
“Due to the unfortunate deaths of a number of North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters, Transport Canada is implementing an interim precautionary speed restriction of 10 knots, for vessels of 20 metres or more in length travelling in the western the Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the two designated shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island. This measure is effective immediately.
“This measure is in addition to the fixed speed restriction introduced on April 28, 2019, in a large area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where vessels 20 metres or longer are restricted to a maximum of 10 knots until November 15, 2019.
“On top of the reduced speed requirements which were introduced in April and today, Transport Canada will continue to monitor Canadian waters through its National Aerial Surveillance Program.
“Transport Canada inspectors, with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services, will enforce this precautionary measure. Failure to comply will result in an Administrative Monetary Penalty of up to $25,000.
“The Government of Canada takes the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered species very seriously. For the past three years, our government has taken concrete action to help protect the North Atlantic right whales, who have been increasingly present in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence in recent years.
“In addition, our government has taken steps to protect Canada’s marine environment through a $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan. As part of the plan to protect marine mammals from the effects of shipping, including collisions and noise pollution, researchers are working to locate and track marine mammals in high vessel traffic areas and provide this information to mariners.
“Protecting our endangered North Atlantic right whales is an important task, one that our government takes seriously. We will continue to work with our partners to ensure the safety of these marine mammals, as well as vessels, and crew.”