DFO asks Gulf fish­er­men to watch for whales

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND -

Fish­eries of­fi­cials in Ot­tawa have closed part of the snow crab fish­ery in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and have is­sued a no­tice to com­mer­cial fish­er­men to be on the look­out for whales.

This comes in the wake of seven en­dan­gered right whales found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last week.

Fish­eries and Oceans Canada is re­view­ing fish­eries in the area and tak­ing mea­sures to avoid neg­a­tive im­pacts on the whales. This in­cludes im­ple­ment­ing an im­me­di­ate par­tial clo­sure within the snow crab fish­ing area where whales are known to fre­quent.

The depart­ment has also is­sued a no­tice to the com­mer­cial ship­ping and fish­ing in­dus­tries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to watch for whales and to re­port any sight­ings.

DFO has re­quested all mariners vol­un­tar­ily re­duce speed along the Lau­ren­tian chan­nel in ship­ping lanes be­tween the Mag­dalen Is­lands to the Gaspé penin­sula un­til Sept. 30

The depart­ment is con­tin­u­ing to work with part­ners to necrop­sies of all the whales that died last week to bet­ter un­der­stand what may have caused their deaths.

“The gov­ern­ment of Canada takes the pro­tec­tion, con­ser­va­tion and re­cov­ery of en­dan­gered species very se­ri­ously,” the depart­ment said in a state­ment is­sued Wed­nes­day.

“We will con­tinue to work with our part­ners as this is­sue evolves.”

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