Moving to Better Protect Endangered Whales in Canadian Waters

A News Release from the Canadian Chamber of Marine Commerce

Posted March 28th, 2018 on Niagara At Large 

Chamber of Marine Commerce statement on new government measures to protect North Atlantic Right Whales

Ottawa, Ontario — The Chamber of Marine Commerce is issuing the following statement in response to today’s announcement by Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada on shipping mitigation measures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to help protect North Atlantic Right Whales.

Bruce Burrows, President to the Chamber of Marine Commerce, said: “We are pleased that the government has taken into account industry and academic input and moved forward with two dynamic shipping routes north and south of Anticosti Island.”

“This approach.” added Burrows, “will both protect the North Atlantic Right Whales and help minimize economic impacts for Canadians.  We will be examining the detailed coordinates of the routes and will continue to work closely with government officials to monitor the effectiveness of these measures to see where improvements can be made as the shipping season continues.”

Record of collaboration

This builds on a record of collaboration in protecting North Atlantic Right Whales that has been successful for more than decade.

As major users of North Atlantic waters, Canadian shipowners have long been engaged in research and other measures to protect marine wildlife and habitat. The shipping industry reduces speed and alters routes in critical whale habitats, regularly collects important data for scientists and helps test new technology such as the early-warning whale alert system under development by a scientific group being hosted at Dalhousie University.

Past measures taken in critical habitat such as the Bay of Fundy in 2003 have significantly reduced the threat of ship strikes to North Atlantic right whales. In the Bay of Fundy, changes to the shipping lane through the International Maritime Organization (IMO) were successful.

Analysis found an overall 62% reduction in risk by moving the lane with a 1.4% increase in time for ships, while a slowdown would have only reduced risk by 52%, with a 20% increase in time. In the region where the whales typically aggregate the lane changes reduced the risk by 90%.

About the Chamber of Marine Commerce

The Chamber of Marine Commerce is a bi-national association that represents more than 130 marine industry stakeholders including major Canadian and American shippers, ports, terminals and marine service providers, as well as domestic and international ship owners. The Chamber advocates for safe, sustainable, harmonized and competitive policy and regulation that recognizes the marine transportation system’s significant advantages in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence, Coastal and Arctic regions.

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