Speed: many ships threaten right whales of the North Atlantic

Vitesse: beaucoup de navires menacent les baleines noires de l’Atlantique Nord

OTTAWA – Nearly three ships on four that have circulated in the Cabot strait from may 19 to may 25, have not complied with the slowing to 10 knots, set up to protect the right whales of the North Atlantic against the risks of collision.

This is what was reported Thursday to the charitable organization independent Oceana Canada, based on the data of its tool Global Fishing Watch, developed in collaboration with Google and Skytruth.

Thus, 72% of the vessels have travelled to over 10 knots, a canadian cargo vessel that has even advanced to 21.1 knots, more than double the limit on voluntary desired by Transport Canada.

The Cabot strait, situated between Nova Scotia and the island of Newfoundland, is an entry way in the gulf of St. Lawrence, the right whales of the North Atlantic for which there are no more than 400 individuals. Experts do not hesitate to speak of a threatened species.

Recall that Transport Canada announced in February a speed limit voluntary to 10 knots in the Cabot strait for vessels of 13 m and more. It is in force from 28 April to 15 June, and 1 October to 15 November.

Oceana Canada was asked Thursday at the federal level to impose compulsory measures of a slowdown in the Cabot strait, given the fact that many captains do not lend themselves voluntarily to the desired speed of 10 knots and less in this area. In other sectors, such slowdowns mandatory have been decreed in recent years.

At least 10 right whales have died in the last year as a result of collisions with vessels. In addition, between 2017 and 2019, 22 of the whales have known the same fate. Only seven births have been recorded this winter.

“In an industry where speed is often a competitive advantage, we are concerned that a slowing did not discourage vessel operators adhere to the speed limit and does not give an unfair advantage to those who do not – some of them are nearly double the recommended speed,” said Kim Elmslie, campaign director at Oceana Canada.

“The high level of non-compliance and the lack of consequences are a real threat to right whales in the individual and the survival of the species as a whole,” she continued.

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