The Government of Canada has issued fines against six vessels, including two Canadian Coast Guard ships, for breaking mandatory speed limits in the Gulf of St. Lawrence meant to protect endangered right whales.
The fines were imposed against the commercial ships MSC Diego, Oslo Bulk and Isola Celeste, the private yacht Princess Ashita, and the CCGS Cape Edensaw and CCGS Cap d’Espoir.
The fines ranged from $6,000 CAD to $12,000 CAD.
The mandatory slowdown is in response a surge of recent deaths of North Atlantic right whales.
The first restrictions were put in place on April 28 and included a large slowdown area throughout much of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Additional restrictions were put in place on June 26 covering the shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island and, on July 8, 2019, the government again expanded the restrictions by increasing the areas for slowdowns, slowing down more ships, increasing the buffer zones in which speed restrictions apply, and increasing aerial surveillance.
“Vessels must transit in a way that does not harm the endangered North Atlantic right whale population,” commented The Honourable Marc Garneau, Canada’s Minister of Transport. “When they exceed the set speed limits, we won’t hesitate to issue fines. The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the marine shipping industry, science experts, and our American partners to monitor and protect the North Atlantic right whale.”
The vessel owners now have 30 days to pay the penalty or ask for an appeal.