Canada orders reduced ship speeds to prevent right whale deaths
The speed limit was capped at 10 knots (11.5 miles, 18.5 kilometers) per hour—about half the average current speeds—in areas where whales have been reported.
The move follows two months that saw an average of one North Atlantic right whale per week found dead in the shipping channel, which connects the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean.
A decomposed whale carcass was also recovered off the coast of Massachusetts this week, bringing the whale death toll in the northeastern coastal region that includes the US and Canada to twelve.
Preliminary examinations of the carcasses found evidence that the endangered marine mammals died of blunt trauma, likely from collisions with vessels. Some showed signs of having been tangled up in fishing nets.
A necropsy report will be released next month, said Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc.
Federal officials hope limiting boat speeds will allow whales time to get out of the way of vessels and, if they fail to, limit injuries. ■