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Government of Canada releases 2020 North Atlantic right whales protection measures

March 2, 2020

The Government of Canada has announced the  enhanced 2020 measures that will help reduce the risks to North Atlantic right whales during the 2020 season from April to November.

In addition to measures to prevent entanglements with fishing gear, to help prevent whale collisions with vessels, Transport Canada will:

  • re-implement the mandatory speed limit to 10 knots in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence; and,
  • continue to allow vessels to travel at safe operational speeds in parts of the shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island when no North Atlantic right whales are detected in the area.

New measures also include two seasonal management areas:

  • restricted area in the Shediac Valley where vessels will be required to avoid the area or reduce their speed to 8 knots; and
  • a trial voluntary speed limit of 10 knots for the Cabot Strait for parts of the season.

All measures apply to vessels longer than 13 metres.

North Atlantic right whales are unpredictable in Canadian waters. Consultation with the science community, fishing and marine industries, Indigenous peoples, and non-governmental environmental organizations has been necessary and invaluable. Their experience and expertise has informed the development of the Government’s measures.

Click here to view the 2020 measures.