Whales: Transport Canada Issues Another Speeding Fine
Transport Canada has issued another speeding fine in its bide to protect right whales in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.
A penalty of $6,000 has been issued to the vessel C.T.M.A. Vacancier for alleged non-compliance with a temporary mandatory vessel slowdown.
This past August, Transport Canada implemented a temporary mandatory slowdown of vessels 20 meters or more to a maximum of 10 knots due to the increased presence of whales in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.
Penalties of $6,000 have recently been issued to the vessels Azoresborg, New Shanghai and Jacqueline C for alleged non-compliance with the slowdown. In September, Transport Canada issued a similar fine to the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Sir William Alexander, and before that, to Petalon and the Seven Seas Navigator.
North Atlantic right whales are a migratory species that frequents Atlantic Ocean coastal waters. The species is listed under the federal Species at Risk Act as endangered, and there are approximately 500 left in the world. The whale is a slow swimmer, averaging about four knots. Collisions with vessels, entanglement in fishing gear and underwater noise are the most serious threats to the population.
Since June, at least 12 North Atlantic Right Whales have died in the Gulf. The annual average mortality rate in Canada and the U.S. combined is 3.8 per year, and Transport Canada says these recent deaths represent a significant threat to the population.
The temporary mandatory slowdown will remain in effect until the whales have migrated away from the area of concern.