Right whales: the federal government is ahead of the season of crab fishing in the gulf of St. Lawrence

News 28 March, 2018
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    QMI agency

    Wednesday, 28 march 2018 13:46

    Wednesday, 28 march 2018 13:48

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    OTTAWA | in Order to prevent further deaths of right whales, the federal government confirmed on Wednesday that he is running ahead of the opening of the fishing season the snow crab in the southern gulf of St. Lawrence.

    “We do everything that we can for the season to start as early as possible”, said the minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Dominic Leblanc.

    Ottawa’s been discussed for months with the coast guard to see if it would be possible from the beginning of the next month the fishing season, which normally starts in mid-April. All fishing equipment crab will need to be removed June 30.

    In the estuary of the river, the crab fishing has begun this week.

    Enhanced Surveillance

    At least 12 right whales have died during the summer of 2017, of which many are entangled in fishing gear.

    The department of Fisheries and Oceans had already announced in January new rules on the ropes and buoys connected to the lockers of crab, in addition to requiring a better monitoring of the equipment lost.

    For the season 2018, the maritime surveillance and air transport will also be enhanced. Fishing areas may be closed if right whales are sighted.

    The minister Leblanc has also lifted the suspension of the activities of désempêtrement of marine mammals. The suspension was ordered last year following the death of the first aider Joe Howlett, New Brunswick, while he was trying to free a right whale caught in fishing equipment.

    “We believe that all protocols are in place to ensure the safety of the people,” assured Mr. Leblanc.

    Speed limit restored

    The speed limit imposed to the vessels circulating in the western gulf of St. Lawrence will again be in force this year.

    From 28 April to 15 November, the boats of over 20 metres in length must observe a maximum speed limit of 10 knots.

    “The results of the necropsy show that collisions with ships have played a role in a number of deaths of right whales of the North Atlantic. Slowing ships in certain critical areas can prevent these collisions,” explained the minister of Transport, Marc Garneau.

    Recognizing that the speed limit had had an economic impact last year, the minister announced that two lanes would be put in place, to the south and to the north of the island of Anticosti. However, if right whales are sighted in these pathways, a slowdown will apply for a period of 15 days.

    The right whale of the North Atlantic, a species that is protected in Canada under the Act the species at risk act. There is only about 450 specimens in the world.