Statement from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ actions to protect the right whale

Statement from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) on the Departmen
Monday, 21 May, 2018
Ottawa, Canada

In recognition of the potential harm to the North Atlantic right whale caused by snow crab and lobster fishing off the Atlantic coast, Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) made a commitment to adopt dynamic management practices to protect this endangered population. Following recent confirmation of the presence of right whales in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence, DFO Minister Dominic LeBlanc fulfilled that commitment and closed six fisheries in the area for a minimum of 15 days. IFAW applauds DFO for following through on their promise and taking this vital action to protect the right whale.  IFAW is also mindful of the impact these closures have on Canadian fishermen and we appreciate their efforts to comply.

The plight facing the North Atlantic right whale is both dire and urgent. The temporary closure of the six fishing areas is a welcome demonstration of DFO’s intention to take the steps necessary to protect this species from extinction, but more must be done. We look forward to working with DFO to ensure that improvements to management practices are made permanent and that the right whale is protected from man-made harm while traveling through Canadian waters.

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Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
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