All vessels must stay at least 400 metres away from all killer whales, and vessels must not be positioned in the path of a killer whale.
There are 2 speed restricted zones, and 2 interim sanctuary zones at Saturna Island and Pender Island.
The bulletin provides specific details on the restrictions and their applicability, including exceptions for vessels in distress, responding to pollution incidents, or avoiding immediate dangers. It also includes exceptions for local traffic, human-powered vessels in transit corridors, authorized activities, fishing under certain licenses, and Indigenous rights. The bulletin includes information on NAVWARN broadcasts issued by the Canadian Coast Guard.
The measures outlined in the bulletin are effective from June 1, 2023, until May 31, 2024, with specific dates for different restrictions.
Protecting the North Atlantic Right Whale: Speed Restriction Measures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
The ship safety bulletin (No. 05/2023) serves as a comprehensive guide for the protection of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, providing detailed information and guidelines. Key points include:
The establishment of static shipping zones in the northern and southern regions, with speed restrictions imposed.
Dynamic shipping zones (A, B, C, D, and E) where vessels must comply with speed restrictions upon the detection of North Atlantic right whales.
Seasonal management areas (SMA-1 and SMA-2) with specific speed restrictions during designated periods, subject to extension if whale detections occur.
Implementation of a restricted area near the Shediac Valley during summer months, when right whales congregate, prohibiting vessel entry unless certain exceptions apply.
Encouragement of a voluntary seasonal slowdown in Cabot Strait during specified timeframes to reduce vessel speeds and minimize collision risks.
Availability of virtual Automatic Identification System (AIS) aids to navigation for displaying speed restrictions.
Compliance and enforcement measures, including potential penalties for non-compliance with the regulations.
Reporting procedures for live whale sightings and incidents involving entangled, injured, or deceased marine mammals.
Contact information for marine response organizations in different regions.
The measures for the protection of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including speed restrictions, seasonal slowdowns, and restricted areas, are currently in effect and will be enforced as outlined in the document.