Minister LeBlanc considers all options to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale from further harm
Moncton, New Brunswick – Canada’s commitment to protecting the North Atlantic Right Whale was front and centre at a roundtable meeting led by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.
Minister LeBlanc met with representatives from fishing organizations, marine transportation industries, cruise lines, ferry associations, Indigenous peoples, whale experts and scientists, as well as the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), to discuss concrete actions which can be taken to better protect the right whale in Canadian waters.
This roundtable is just one part of a comprehensive approach to ensure these marine mammals are protected for future generations.
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will work with partners on many of the specific proposals that were discussed throughout the day, which include:
- Actively exploring opportunities to adjust existing fishing gear immediately to reduce the risk of entanglements.
- Testing new gear technologies that would reduce the amount of rope in the water and lower the risk of whale entanglements.
- Adjusting fishing seasons to avoid periods when right whales congregate.
- Implementing measures to reduce lost fishing gear that poses a risk to whales and other species.
- Enhancing whale sighting and detection information, and timely sharing of this information among all those concerned.
- Considering seasonal speed restrictions in target areas and adjustments to shipping lanes based on accurate and timely whale sightings information.
- Improving the collaboration and coordination across industry sectors, governments and non-governmental organizations to leverage the expertise on the protection and recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale.
The collective expertise gathered in this forum and the proposed actions will help inform government policy on reducing the impacts of human activity on right whales and to protecting our waters and marine life for generations to come.
“Everyone around the table understood the urgency of this situation, and the need to take concrete actions to protect the North Atlantic Right Whale. Having experts, industry representatives, scientists and Indigenous communities participate in these meetings brings a more diverse and complete understanding of the situation. This discussion was profoundly helpful in assessing the long-term options available to our government. We will work quickly to ensure the survival and recovery of this iconic species.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
- The roundtable meeting stems from an unprecedented 12 North Atlantic Right Whale deaths in the Gulf of St. Lawrence from June to September 2017.
- The Government of Canada’s $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan includes measures that will address threats to marine mammals in Canadian waters and enhance capacity to respond to marine mammal incidents.
- In summer 2017, Canadians were invited to share their views through the Let’s Talk Whales consultation aimed at helping the recovery of the North Atlantic Right Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the Southern Resident Killer Whale. Almost 20,000 people participated and contributed over 200 ideas in response to the question “How can we, as Canadians, take action now to reduce impacts on at-risk whales and help their recovery?”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada