New North Atlantic right whale management measures success depend on sufficient surveillance and rapid response - Oceana Canada

New North Atlantic right whale management measures success depend on sufficient surveillance and rapid response

Press Release Date: February 7, 2019

Today, Fisheries, Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced 2019 management measures to protect North Atlantic right whales.

In response to this announcement, Oceana Canada’s Campaign Director, Kim Elmslie, issued the following statement:

“We are pleased to see the federal government’s continued investment in management measures to protect North Atlantic right whales through rules aimed to reduce ship strikes and entanglements in fishing gear. 

Among the measures is a reduction of the static fishing closure area compared to 2018. It is based on the fact that 90 per cent of 2018 right whale sightings were in the static area and the assumption that the whales will appear in the same location this year. The effectiveness of the dynamic fishing area will depend on sufficient surveillance to test this assumption, and to quickly detect whales and enact a rapid management response. We look forward to understanding how the government’s surveillance plan will address this challenge.

We are also concerned to see that Transport Canada announced reductions in the size of the speed restriction zone and their surveillance of the shipping lanes by 50 per cent. We will need to better understand the rationale for this decision before assessing the appropriateness of this change.

Recovering right whales will a take a concerted effort for decades and a commitment to long term solutions. It is encouraging that there is continued investment in long term solutions including fishing technologies and methods to prevent and mitigate whale entanglement.”

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For more information, please contact: Kara-Ann Miel, Communications Director, Oceana Canada, 647-535-6326,

About Oceana Canada

Oceana Canada is an independent charity and part of the largest international advocacy group dedicated solely to ocean conservation. Canada has the longest coastline in the world, with an ocean surface area of 7.1 million square kilometres, or 70 per cent of its landmass. Oceana Canada believes that Canada has a national and global obligation to manage our natural resources responsibly and help ensure a sustainable source of protein for the world’s growing population. Oceana Canada works with civil society, academics, fishers, Indigenous Peoples and the federal government to return Canada’s formerly vibrant oceans to health and abundance. By restoring Canada’s oceans, we can strengthen our communities, reap greater economic and nutritional benefits, and protect our future.