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
"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.