Slow Down for Whales - Gulf of St. Lawrence

27/11/2017 | North

North has learnt that at least 3 fines have been issued to vessels by Transport Canada for exceeding the temporary speed restriction in place for the Western Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The restriction has been in place since the 11 August 2017 in an effort to protect the North Atlantic Right whales in the area. The speed restriction applies to vessels over 19.8m in length transiting the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.

The Canadian coastguard has issued the coordinates of the area where the speed restriction applies in broadcast notice Q1189/2017, this can be read here.

North has learnt that Transport Canada’s marine communications and traffic service center monitors the shipping traffic in the area by their speed over the ground via AIS data. Any vessel detected with an average speed over 10 knots in any five minute period is liable to receive a fine.

North therefore highlights the importance of crews monitoring closely the vessel’s speed over the ground and not through water. Members may wish to include details of the speed restriction in vessel voyage plans.