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In the News: New Canadian regulations announced to protect right whales

Canada announced new regulations to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale. From April to November, the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada will close fishing in areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence where whales are gathering in large numbers. If whales are detected in an area of the Gulf more than once during a 15-day period, that fishing zone will be closed for fishing until the end of the season on November 15. Previously, the zone would be re-opened after 15 days. Temporary fishing closures will also expand into the Bay of Fundy. Transport Canada called for a voluntary speed limit in the Cabot Strait as a part of its plan to protect the whales, which pass around Cape Breton on their way to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. First announced in February, the voluntary speed limit asks vessels over 13 meters to slow down to 10 knots in a portion of the Cabot Strait between April 28 and June 15, and between October 1 and November 15.

Changes are coming for Canadian lobstermen. Photo courtesy of CTV news.com.

These measures are in additional to new gear marking requirements for Canada’s fixed gear fisheries, effective for the 2020 fishing season. At a minimum, gear marking will be required at the top, middle and bottom of the vertical line or every 27.4m (15 fathom) throughout the length of the rope. Each strand marking must be a minimum of 15cm (6 inches) in length. Up to 3 colors are required to identify the region fished (color 1), the species fished (color 2) and the fishing area (color 3). For example, the Gulf region will be marked with blue (color 1), the snow crab fishery orange and lobster fishery yellow (color 2), LFA 24 is green and LFA 26A is white (color 3). Colors 1 and 2 will be wove into the rope at the same location, while color 3 (representing your fishing area) will be added to a subsequent segment of rope immediately after the segment of rope with the first two colors.

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