One of the implemented measures to protect whales includes speed restrictions in certain zones in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and when a ship breaches the restriction, Canada takes swift action. To that end, Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, announced that the department has fined a vessel for alleged non-compliance of a temporary mandatory speed restriction. The tanker was issued a $6000 fine.
While compliance with the protection measures remains high, there are still a few exceptions, and Transport Canada continues to examine all reported cases of non-compliance.
In response to the recent deaths of North Atlantic right whales, the Government of Canada took significant actions over the summer. These include increasing the areas in the Gulf subject to a mandatory speed limit of 10 knots, slowing down a wider range of marine vessels, and increasing aerial surveillance. These measures were added to those implemented on April 28, 2019, which includes a large slowdown area throughout much of the Gulf.
In addition to speed restrictions, Transport Canada also enhanced its whale monitoring activity with its National Aerial Surveillance Program. Information from increased surveillance continues to be analyzed to determine best practices and inform any additional measures that may be required to protect whales this season.
We continue to emphasize that vessels must transit in a way that does not harm the endangered North Atlantic right whale population and other marine mammals. The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the marine industry, science experts, and our American partners to monitor and protect the North Atlantic right whale.
Marc Garneau stated.