Ship allegedly broke St. Lawrence speed limit imposed to protect endangered whales

By on September 28, 2017


Transport Canada says a ship has been fined for allegedly exceeding a speed limit set to protect endangered whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Photo by Green Fire Productions/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)
Transport Canada says a ship has been fined for allegedly exceeding a speed limit set to protect endangered whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Photo by Green Fire Productions/Flickr, CC BY 2.0)

OTTAWA — Transport Canada says a ship has been fined for allegedly exceeding a speed limit set to protect endangered whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Due to the increased presence of North Atlantic right whales in the area, Transport Canada last month imposed a temporary mandatory speed limit of 10 knots on vessels of 20 metres or more.

The speed restriction applies to vessels travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island.

Transport Canada says the shipping industry in general has been respecting the speed limit, but it says a $6,000 penalty was issued Tuesday to the Pearl Mist for alleged non-compliance.

The vessel owner has 30 days to pay the penalty or to ask the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada to review the facts of the alleged violation or the amount of the penalty.

Eleven North Atlantic right whales have died since June in the Gulf of St. Lawrence — an unprecedented number of deaths for the marine mammal that is at imminent risk of extinction with an estimated population of just 500 around the world.

“We are committed to ensuring that all vessels respect the temporary speed limit, and we will continue to take all appropriate action to ensure the safety of the whales,” Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Wednesday in a statement.