MONCTON, N.B. – Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is scheduled to meet with scientists, Indigenous groups and representatives from the fishing and marine transport industries today in Moncton, N.B., to discuss this year’s North Atlantic right whale deaths.
LeBlanc will hold a roundtable discussion on solutions to reduce interactions between humans and whales and how protect these animals during their presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Thirteen right whales have turned up dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year, and another three died in American waters.
Some of the deaths have been attributed to vessel strikes and getting tangled in fishing gear.
The Canadian government has taken steps to reduce the risk to right whales by bringing in measures including reducing the speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and shutting down a snow crab fishery.
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LeBlanc has said the government will look at every option possible to protect whales, including making the speed limit for vessels in the gulf permanent, enacting new regulations on fishing gear or changing crab fishing season dates to ensure equipment is removed from the water before the whales migrate into the gulf.
There are fewer than 450 right whales left in the world and scientists fear if extraordinary measures aren’t taken to stop the slaughter they will disappear entirely within decades.
Hundreds gathered in Halifax last month for the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium’s annual meeting, where the deaths were described as a dire blow to the endangered species’ survival.