For Immediate Release
St. Stephen, NB—Karen Ludwig, Member of Parliament for New Brunswick Southwest, is applauding newly announced federal measures to protect the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale population. The 2019 measures include adjusting the static closure zone within the Gulf of St. Lawrence, only trigger a 15-day fishery closure if a whale is spotted in the area and reintroducing a mandatory speed restriction for vessels 20 metres or longer to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Protecting and growing the North Atlantic Right Whale population is very important to MP Ludwig. In June of last year, she received the unanimous consent of the House of Commons for her Private Members Motion (M-154), mandating the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans to undertake a study on the situation of endangered whales in Canada, including North Atlantic Right Whales.
“Tragically, we lost twelve Right Whales in Canadian waters 2017,” said MP Ludwig. “Thanks to quick government action and cooperation from industry, fishermen, research scientists, advocacy groups, Indigenous communities, and other stakeholders, no Right Whales were lost in 2018 in Canadian waters. With discussion and cooperation comes optimism. There is hope for the population with four Right Whale calves born so far this season.”
Ludwig says despite some progress, all sides must remain vigilant. In October 2018, the Grand Manan Fishermen’s Association (GMFA) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) announced a new pilot project where innovative techniques will be used by fishermen to reduce the amount of rope used at their sites.
“We appreciate and are grateful for the spirit of cooperation to protect these magnificent animals,” said MP Ludwig. We also understand and appreciate that fisherman must protect their commercial interests and ability to earn a living to provide for their families. Together, we are finding that balance.”
Today’s announcement regarding the 2019 measures was made by the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, and the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, and the Member of Parliament for Acadie—Bathurst, Serge Cormier, in Shippagan, New Brunswick.
In 2018, an estimated 411 North Atlantic right whales remained with only one-quarter being females of breeding age.
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