Transport Canada lifts mandatory speed restriction in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting the marine environment, including marine mammals, and ensuring navigational safety for mariners, fishers, recreational boaters and all users of Canada’s oceans and waterways. Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, lifted the mandatory speed restriction for vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to ensure ships can operate safely in winter months.

We thank the many vessel operators and captains who complied with the mandatory speed restriction this season. Transport Canada is not aware of any North Atlantic right whale deaths from vessel strikes this year and will ask vessels to voluntarily slow down should a whale be spotted in or near the shipping lanes.

On April 28, 2018, Transport Canada implemented a speed restriction for vessels 20 metres or more to a maximum of 10 knots in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence. Ships were allowed to travel at normal speeds in parts of two shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island if no whales were spotted in the area.

This year, the Government of Canada also tested new drone technology for marine mammal surveillance and protection.

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