Protecting marine mammals
Since last fall, new marine mammal regulations have been in place to reduce disruptions related to the presence of vessels for watching and approaching marine animals , such as killer whales, belugas and right whales.
Why are there new amendments?
The new amendments to the regulations will, among other things, punish violations of the Fisheries Act. They are the result of consultations with stakeholders from various industries, members of the scientific community and environmental government organizations.
What are the threats to marine mammals?
Noise, loss of prey, collisions and obstacles such as fishing gear and water pollution are all elements that threaten endangered whale populations.
What is disturbance of a marine species?
Marine mammals can easily be disturbed by human activity. With the new regulation (link in French), it is prohibited to do the following to a marine animal:
- feed it
- swim or interact with it
- move it or force it to change its trajectory
- separate it from its group or place it between a female and her young
- trap it between a ship and the shore or between ships
- label or mark it
St. Lawrence and Saguenay
Although the minimum distance for most whales is 100 meters elsewhere, it is not the case when you navigate the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Saguenay Marine Park. For example, the approach distance of endangered whale, dolphin and porpoise species, such as beluga whales and blue whales, is a minimum of 400 meters. For the others, it’s 200 meters.
In order to protect these fascinating animals and their environment, everyone must do their part. And, since sometimes goodwill is not enough, this new change to the regulations will make it possible to punish those who do not follow the new rules.
L’escale nautique, Spring 2019 (French only)
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