New Bay of Fundy Shipping Lanes

Monday, July 07, 2003
Transport Minister David Collenette and Fisheries and Oceans Minister Robert Thibault, together with Dr. Moira Brown of the Canadian Whale Institute, announced that new shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy, designed to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale population from ship strikes, will officially be put into operation on July 1, 2003. The new lanes will help to protect the Right Whale by organizing the ship traffic flow in and around an area where the whale densities are the greatest. “The Government of Canada has created new safe and effective shipping lanes in order to protect Right Whales in the Bay of Fundy,” said Mr. Collenette. “Canada has taken a leading role internationally through the creation of the world’s first shipping lanes designed to protect the whale population. Amendments to the navigational charts and vessel traffic control procedures, as well as distribution and notification procedures have been completed. As a result, the additional protection for the Right Whales provided by the lane changes is now in place prior to the expected seasonal return to Fundy waters later this summer. “Since there are only about 350 of these whales in existence, they are one of the world’s most endangered large whales,” said Minister Thibault. “There are reports of 18 calves born this year. Most of them will be in the Bay of Fundy throughout the summer, with the main concentration of Right Whales. The vessel traffic lane change is a positive step on the part of the marine transportation and fishing sectors to help move the species towards recovery.” The new lanes are part of the Government of Canada’s “North Atlantic Right Whale Recovery Plan” led by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. A marine industry working group, co-chaired by Transport Canada and the Canadian Whale Institute, determined that this approach would be the most effective in reducing strikes and maintaining safe commercial marine operations. The working group included representatives from the shipping, fishing and whale-watching sectors. "This initiative will greatly lessen the ship strike threat to this highly vulnerable population, " said Dr. Brown. "Canadians can be proud of the role their government played in making it happen. " The new shipping lanes are based on considerable scientific whale research and were reviewed by several marine industry stakeholders and experts to ensure safety would be maintained.

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