July 26, 2019 Ottawa Transport Canada
Endangered whales such as the North Atlantic right whale deserve to swim danger-free in Canadian waters. That is why the Government of Canada has introduced several measures to address the risks that they face by both marine shipping and fishing activity.
Today, Transport Canada has issued monetary penalties of $7800 to each of the vessels Americaborg and Atlantic Spirit, for alleged non-compliance of the temporary mandatory slow down. The vessels’ owners have 30 days to pay their penalty or to ask the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to review the facts of their individual violations or the amounts of their penalties.
On July 8, 2019, Transport Canada implemented additional precautionary measures to those already in effect since April 28, to address the risks whales face from vessel activity. These included expanding the current slowdown zone further east where vessels are required to travel at 10 knots throughout the season, and a new slowdown shipping lane where vessels are required to slow down to 10 knots when a North Atlantic right whale is spotted in the area. Mandatory speed restrictions were expanded to include any vessel over 13 metres long; previously the restriction applied to vessels 20 metres and over.
In addition, Transport Canada augmented its whale monitoring activity with its National Aerial Surveillance Program.. Information from increased surveillance is being analyzed to determine best practices and inform any additional measures that may be required to protect whales this season.
While the shipping industry has been overwhelmingly compliant in respecting these measures, there are still some exceptions, and Transport Canada is examining all reported cases of non-compliance.