Transport Canada - North Atlantic Right Whales –2020 Vessel Traffic Management Measures

Transport Canada (TC) – April 28, 2020 – This notice to fish harvesters is issued in accordance with 2020 traffic management measures, as previously announced by Transport Canada, to protect North Atlantic right whales (NARW) in Canada. It includes details on two new seasonal management areas for vessels in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a trial voluntary slowdown area near the Cabot Strait, and a recap of the vessel traffic measures that remain in effect.

Due to changing migration patterns of North Atlantic right whales and their increased presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, the Government of Canada has established seasonal speed restrictions in specific zones. These speed restrictions are defined as "static zones", "dynamic shipping zones", "seasonal management areas", a trial "voluntary speed restriction zone'' and a "restricted area". See the map below for details.

Note: Navigational Warnings with these speed restrictions are considered to be Notices to Shipping, which vessels must follow as per the Interim Order Protecting North Atlantic Right Whales (Eubalaena Glacialis) in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

Speed restriction zones are described in monthly Notices to Mariners (NOTMARs), which are published by the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG). The status of these zones are broadcasted through Navigational Warnings (NAVWARNs), which are published by the CCG's Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) Centres

Changes to speed restriction zones

Based on consultations with industry and on scientific data, changes to the speed restriction zones will be effective from April 28th, 2020, while the restricted area will be implemented at a later date:

Please refer to the latest NAVWARN issued by the CCG-MCTS for all speed restrictions currently in effect.

Speed Restriction Measures for 2020

These restrictions will be in effect from April 28 to November 15, 2020.

Static zones

In the static zones, all vessels above 13 m in length overall (LOA) must proceed at a speed of not more than 10.0 knots over the ground.

Mariners will be notified ahead via a NAVWARN should the speed restriction status change, due to inclement weather.

Within any static zone that is not subject to a speed restriction, mariners may proceed at a safe operational speed. Mariners are however encouraged to take into consideration the potential for their vessel striking North Atlantic right whales when considering a "safe operational speed" during navigation.

Please refer to Schedule 1 for the coordinates of the northern static zone and the southern static zone.

Dynamic shipping zones

There are five dynamic shipping zones (DSZ) located in the routeing systems north and south of Anticosti Island: A, B, C, D and E.

If the Government of Canada does not detect North Atlantic right whales in these zones, vessels may transit through them at a safe operational speed.

When the Government of Canada detects a North Atlantic right whale in a dynamic shipping zone, vessels above 13 m in length overall (LOA):

Please refer to Schedule 2 for the coordinates of dynamic shipping zones A, B, C, D and E.

Speed restrictions in the dynamic shipping zones

The detection of North Atlantic right whales in one or more dynamic shipping zone(s), will trigger a speed restriction in the concerned zone(s). The speed restriction in the dynamic shipping zone(s) will be in effect for 15 days from the date of issuance of the NAVWARN. We may extend a speed restriction past the 15 days if North Atlantic right whales continue to be detected.

When a NAVWARN is issued implementing a speed restriction in one or more dynamic shipping zone(s), vessels above 13 m in length (LOA) must not exceed a speed of 10.0 knots over the ground.

Within any zone that is not subject to a speed restriction, mariners may proceed at a safe operational speed. Mariners are however encouraged to take into consideration the potential for their vessel striking North Atlantic right whales when considering a "safe operational speed" during navigation.

Seasonal management areas

Seasonal management area 1 (SMA-1) and seasonal management area 2 (SMA-2) are speed restriction areas located north and south of dynamic shipping zone E, respectively.

Within seasonal management areas, vessels above 13 m in length (LOA):

Please refer to Schedule 3 for the coordinates of SMA-1 and SMA-2.

Restricted area

In the summer months, an important proportion of the total North Atlantic right whale population gathers for feeding and surface activity near the Shediac Valley. Since this makes the North Atlantic right whale more susceptible to vessel collisions, a mandatory restricted area will be put in place in or near Shediac Valley. The effective date and exact location of the area is to be determined. An Interim Order will come into force in early summer and will provide the necessary details. This information will also be communicated to mariners through navigational warnings and notices to fish harvesters.

Vessels above 13 m in length (LOA) will be required to:

The restricted area will be determined in collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Once established, the location and dimension of the restricted area will not be modified.

Trial voluntary speed restriction in Cabot Strait

To coincide with the North Atlantic right whales entering and exiting the Gulf of St. Lawrence, we are putting in place a trial voluntary speed restriction in Cabot Strait from April 28th to June 15th, 2020, and from October 1st to November 15th, 2020.

Please refer to Schedule 4 for the coordinates of the voluntary speed restriction zone.

Map of the Gulf of St. Lawrence

The following map shows

map
Map showing the two static zones (north and south), the five dynamic shipping zones (A, B, C, D and E), the seasonal management areas and the trial voluntary speed restriction zone
This map is for visual representation only and is not to be used for navigation or enforcement.

NAVWARN broadcasts

The CCG-MCTS issues and publishes NAVWARNs:

Mariners must ensure they have accurate and up-to-date information about the protection of the North Atlantic right whale, as in all applicable NOTMARs and NAVWARNs.

For the North Atlantic right whale speed restriction, the NAVWARN that is currently in effect will be provided to vessels subject to the Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations or the Eastern Canada Vessel Traffic Services Zone Regulations:

Outbound vessels

Inbound vessels

Vessels in transit

For those vessels not subject to the above-mentioned regulations, vessel operators are required to monitor broadcasts by the Canadian Coast Guard's Marine Communications and Traffic Services (MCTS) network for the most up to date information. For marine radio frequencies and broadcast times, information may be found in the Radio Aids to Marine Navigationpublication.

Aids to navigation

The Canadian Coast Guard is currently testing virtual Automatic Identification System (AIS) aids to navigation (AIS AtoN) in specific areas. These aids notify mariners of a dynamic shipping zone subject to a speed restriction, per NOTMAR 819(T)/2016.

Each dynamic shipping zone is delimited by four virtual AIS AtoN, which can be displayed on a ship's navigation equipment, such as

The Canadian Coast Guard broadcasts the virtual AIS AtoN only when a speed restriction is in effect in one or more testing zones.

Mariners must select the virtual AIS AtoN symbol to view a message such as "SectA1 Spd Lim 10 kt." This message refers to a speed restriction in effect for a specific zone.

Note: This system is not the primary way we communicate this information.

Compliance and enforcement

You must comply with the NAVWARNs broadcasted and published by the Canadian Coast Guard related to any Interim Order made pursuant to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, aimed at regulating the navigation for the purposes of protecting the North Atlantic right whales.

If you do not comply with instructions in the NAVWARNs or in the Interim Orders, you could face:

If your vessel appears to have violated the speed restriction, Transport Canada Marine Safety inspectors will review all information provided through AIS and seek an explanation from the master.

No exemptions to the speed restriction will be granted in advance. However, if a deviation from the speed restrictions is necessary for safety reasons, the following information must be entered into the bridge logbook:

For any deviation, Transport Canada will review and consider reasons such as

Report a North Atlantic right whale sighting

If you see a North Atlantic right whale that is entangled, injured or dead, please report it to your nearest Canadian Coast Guard Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre, or as follows:

Southern part of the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Marine Animal Response Society
Telephone: 1-866-567-6277

Newfoundland and Labrador

Whale Release and Strandings
Telephone: 1-888-895-3003

For the Québec Sector

Marine Mammal Emergencies
Telephone: 1-877-722-5346

Schedule 1 - Static zones

Coordinates for the northern static zone
Points Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
1 50° 20' 065° 00'
2 49° 13' 065° 00'
3 48° 40' 064° 13'
4 48° 40' 062° 40'
5 48⁰  03' 061⁰  07.5'
6 47⁰  58.1' 061⁰  03.5'
7 48° 00' 061° 00'
8 49° 04' 061° 00'
9 49° 04' 062° 00'
10 49° 43' 063° 00'
11 50° 20' 063° 00'
Coordinates for the southern static zone
Points Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
1 48° 40' 065° 00'
2 48° 40' 062° 40'
3 48° 03' 061° 07,5'
4 47° 58.1' 061° 03,5'
5 47° 10' 062° 30'
6 47° 10' 065° 00'

* Point references are based on the geodesic system North American Datum 1983 (NAD83). Positions are expressed in degrees and minutes.

Schedule 2 - Dynamic shipping zones

Coordinates for the dynamic shipping zones

Points

Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
Zone A
1 49⁰ 41' 065⁰ 00'
2 49⁰ 20' 065⁰ 00'
3 49⁰ 11' 064⁰ 00'
4 49⁰ 22' 064⁰ 00'
Zone B
1 49⁰ 22' 064⁰ 00'
2 49⁰ 11' 064⁰ 00'
3 48⁰ 48' 063⁰ 00'
4 49⁰ 00' 063⁰ 00'
Zone C
1 49⁰ 00' 063⁰ 00'
2 48⁰ 48' 063⁰ 00'
3 48⁰ 24' 062⁰ 00'
4 48⁰ 35' 062⁰ 00'
Zone D
1 50⁰ 16' 064⁰ 00'
2 50⁰ 00' 064⁰ 00'
3 49⁰ 56' 063⁰ 00'
4 50⁰ 16' 063⁰ 00'
Zone E
1 48⁰  35' 062⁰  00'
2 48⁰  24' 062⁰  00'
3 48⁰  03' 061⁰  07.5'
4 47⁰  58.1' 061⁰  03.5'
5 48⁰  00' 061⁰  00'
6 48⁰  10.5' 061⁰  00'

* Point references are based on the geodesic system North American Datum 1983 (NAD83). Positions are expressed in degrees and minutes.

Schedule 3 - Seasonal management areas

Coordinates for the SMA-1

Points

Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
1 49° 04' 062° 00'
2 49° 04' 061° 00'
3 48° 10.5' 061° 00'
4 48° 35' 062° 00'
Coordinates for the SMA-2
Points Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
1 48° 24' 062° 00'
2 48° 03' 061° 07.5'
3 47° 58.1' 061° 03.5'
4 47° 26.69' 062° 00'

* Point references are based on the geodesic system North American Datum 1983 (NAD83). Positions are expressed in degrees and minutes.

Schedule 4 - Voluntary speed restriction zone

Voluntary speed restriction zone coordinates
Points Position*
North Latitude
(N)
West Longitude
(W)
1 48° 10.5' 061° 00'
2 47° 37.2' 059° 18.5'
3 47° 02' 060° 23.7'
4 47° 58.1' 061° 03.5'
5 48° 00' 061° 00'

* Point references are based on the geodesic system North American Datum 1983 (NAD83). Positions are expressed in degrees and minutes.