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Most ships in Cabot Strait not complying with whale-protection rules: study

Click to play video 'The push to protect North Atlantic right whales' The push to protect North Atlantic right whales
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified North Atlantic right whales as critically endangered, one category away from extinct. While many deaths have happened in Canada, the population has been kept safer this season. Jesse Thomas explains why.

A study of ship speeds in the Cabot Strait shows that two-thirds are not complying with a voluntary speed restriction meant to protect critically endangered North Atlantic right whales that migrate through the area.

Advocacy group Oceana Canada has released a study today indicating that between April 28 and June 15 this year, 67 per cent of vessels – 464 out of 697 studied – were travelling in the Cabot Strait faster than the requested 10-knot limit.

Read more: North Atlantic right whale one step away from of extinction: conservation experts

It says when a ship travelling above that speed strikes a whale, there is little chance the animal will survive.

Ten of the ships were travelling above 20 knots; 40 were going between 16 and 20 knots; 48 were going been 14 and 16 knots; and 366 were going between 10 and 14 knots.

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Click to play video 'Feds launch new protections for North Atlantic right whales' Feds launch new protections for North Atlantic right whales
Feds launch new protections for North Atlantic right whales

The organization says in its study that it’s clear that the federal trial allowing the speed reduction to be voluntary isn’t working.

It says the Cabot Strait slowdown should be made mandatory to protect the whales from ship strikes, “before it is too late.”