Preparing for Right Whale Migration Period

by Shri Madiwal, Director of Fleet Operations

Earlier this summer, the Government of Canada introduced measures to help reduce the risk of ships striking the whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The North Atlantic Right Whale is an endangered species that migrates along the coast of the United States, through the Cabot Strait and into the Gulf of St. Lawrence each year. Unfortunately, there have been a number of right whale deaths this summer attributed to issues including possible ship strikes and fishing gear entanglements.

Earlier this summer, the Government of Canada introduced measures to help reduce the risk of ships striking the whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. One of the measures taken was a reduction in vessel speed to 10 knots in north western sections of the Gulf where the whales have spent the past several weeks.

Due to the migratory nature of the right whale, Marine Atlantic is preparing for when the whales begin their migration through the Cabot Strait and into more southern waters. The Corporation is working with Transport Canada in monitoring this migration period which could take place in the next several weeks.

As such, Marine Atlantic is developing operational and mitigation plans to be implemented when the speed reduction zone shifts to the Cabot Strait area. While we understand this could have some impact on our sailing times and schedule, it is also very important for all of us to do our part to protect this endangered species during their migration period.

We will continue working with Transport Canada and provide customers with updates regarding any upcoming sailing impacts. Updates will also be provided through our website and social media channels as information becomes available. We commit to doing our part in helping to protect the Right Whales.