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Protecting North Atlantic Right Whales: Canada's fishing measures by year launched

Release date: March 2022
Infographic: Canada's fishing measures by year introduced
Description: Protecting North Atlantic Right Whales: Canada's fishing measures by year launched


  • Introduced static and dynamic fishery area closures
  • Introduced case-by-case measures to address sightings of three or more whales or a mother and calf anywhere in Atlantic Canada and Quebec
  • Introduced new mandatory requirements for harvesters to report lost gear and all marine mammal interactions
  • Introduced new measures to reduce rope and to better track buoys
  • Introduced new gear marking requirements for harvesters in Crab Fishing Area 12
  • Changed the Marine Mammal Regulations to ensure vessels stay at least 100 m from whales
  • Invested in new whale detection technologies and new acoustic technologies, through the Oceans Protection Plan
  • Supported industry-led pilot projects on new gear modifications to prevent entanglements
  • Invested $1 million per year (permanent) to support marine mammal response activities
  • Logged 2500 flight hours


  • Amended the static fishery closure area to cover an area where 90% of right whales were spotted in 2017
  • Expanded the dynamic fishery closure area to cover the entire Gulf of St. Laurence
  • Introduced new temporary fishery closure restrictions in shallow waters (less than 20 fathoms)
  • Organized a gear retrieval operation in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which removed over 100 traps and almost 10km (six miles) of rope
  • Invested an additional $1.2 million over four years to support Marine Mammal Response activities
  • Increased surveillance via aircraft, drones, and underwater gliders and acoustic devices.
  • Logged 3,000 flight hours


  • Introduced a new season-long closure area protocol
  • Expanded the dynamic fishery closure area into the Bay of Fundy
  • Introduced mandatory gear markings for all fix gear fisheries in Eastern Canada
  • Authorizing ropeless gear trials in closed areas
  • Created a $8.3 million Ghost Gear Fund, to assist in the retrieval and recycling of harmful ghost gear from the oceans. This program helped facilitate the removal of 63 tonnes of ghost gear in Atlantic Canada.
  • Logged over 2,500 flight hours


  • Modified closure protocols for greater certainty on the continued presence of whales in closed areas
  • Established a new technical working group for harvesters, right whale experts, and departmental officials
  • Invested an additional $8.4 million in the Ghost Gear Fund, with a focus on ghost gear retrieval in the Gulf of St. Lawrence
  • Invested an additional $8 million over 2 years through Nature Legacy to increase capacity to detect North Atlantic right whales in near real-time
  • Launched the $20 million Whale Safe Gear Adoption Fund to help harvesters transition to whalesafe gear (i.e. weak breaking points or links) by 2023. This fund also supports ropeless/rope-on-demand technologies.
  • Logged over 2,800 flight hours


  • Maintaining 2021 closure protocols
  • Working with harvesters, fishery by fishery, to implement mandatory whalesafe gear requirements by 2023
  • Increasing the number of near real-time acoustic devices for monitoring and detection
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