QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC -- (Marketwired) -- 06/06/13 -- Fisheries and Oceans Minister Keith Ashfield, and Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Peter Kent, are announcing new voluntary measures for merchant and cruise ships to reduce the risk of collisions with whales in areas of the St. Lawrence Estuary often frequented for feeding.
"World Oceans Day is the perfect time to highlight the efforts of our government and the marine transportation industry to protect whales, like belugas, while ensuring the economic vitality and safety of our navigable waters," said Minister Ashfield. "I am pleased to note that these measures have been developed in close collaboration with the marine industry and various organizations over the last two years."
"Implementing this measure in the same year as the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park's 15th anniversary is excellent news, as it helps better protect marine mammals," said Minister Kent. "This part of St. Lawrence Estuary is well known for its resident St. Lawrence beluga population and the wide diversity of marine mammals that migrate there to feed."
These temporary measures are applicable between June 1 and October 31, 2013, and were recommended by the Working Group on Marine Traffic and Protection of Marine Mammals. Specifically, these measures include a speed reduction at the head of the Laurentian Channel off Tadoussac and identify an area to be avoided downstream Les Escoumins, which will significantly reduce the risk of collisions with marine mammals.
Co-chaired by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Parks Canada Agency, the Working Group on Marine Traffic and Protection of Marine Mammals is made up of representatives from St. Lawrence Ship operators, the Corporation of the Lower St. Lawrence Pilots, the Ecole de technologie superieure, the Shipping Federation of Canada, the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals, the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council, and the Universite de Montreal and the University of British Columbia. The Canadian Coast Guard and Transport Canada are also involved in an advisory capacity.
For more information on these voluntary measures, consult the Notice to Mariners at http://www.notmar.gc.ca/go.php?doc=eng/services/notmar/index
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Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Quebec Region
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Manager, External Relations
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