Marine mammals and sea turtles at risk in the Maritimes Region
To report a marine mammal disturbance or harassment
Please visit Report a Sighting or Incident.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has primary responsibility for conserving and protecting Canada’s marine resources, including marine mammals and sea turtles. Acts of Parliament, regulations, and other non-regulatory measures are used to fulfil this mandate. The Department is guided by the principles of sound scientific knowledge and effective management in developing regulations and policies to meet this responsibility.
The Bay of Fundy and Scotian Shelf are home to many marine mammal and sea turtle species, some of which are listed as endangered, threatened, or special concern under the Species at Risk Act (SARA). The purposes of the Act are to:
- Prevent Canadian indigenous species, subspecies, and distinct populations from becoming extirpated or extinct;
- Provide for the recovery of endangered or threatened species; and
- Encourage the management of other species to prevent them from becoming at risk.
SARA-listed marine mammal and sea turtle species found within the Maritimes Region include the:
- North Atlantic Right Whale (Endangered);
- Northern Bottlenose Whale (Endangered);
- Blue Whale (Endangered);
- Fin Whale (Special Concern);
- Sowerby’s Beaked Whale (Special Concern);
- Leatherback Sea Turtle (Endangered);
- Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Endangered);
- Beluga Whale (Endangered).
Once listed under the Act, it is illegal to kill, harm, harass, capture or take a species that is listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, all marine mammals are subject to the provisions of the Marine Mammal Regulations under the Fisheries Act. These regulations contain a prohibition against disturbing a marine mammal, except when fishing for marine mammals under the authority of the regulations.
While on the Water
Whale watching provides an opportunity to observe these mammals in their natural environment. Whale watching guidelines have been developed to ensure your vessel’s presence will not interfere with feeding, socializing, or other behaviours of marine mammals. We encourage you to visit the following websites for further information:
- Whale Watching Tips for Boaters
- Whale Watching Bay of Fundy Tourism Information
- Whale Watching Tips provided by the Grand Manan Whale and Research Station
- Why we need whale watching guidelines
- Frequently asked questions
For more information on marine mammal and sea turtle species in the Maritimes Region visit the Marine Species Identification Guide. Numerous studies are underway on the marine animals that inhabit the waters of Atlantic Canada and you can assist in this research.
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