Protecting North Atlantic right whales

Canada’s fishing measures by year introduced

Canada’s fishing measures by year introduced


  • 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

2021 and beyond

New requirements, based on consultations with industry throughout 2020. These requirements may vary by Fishery:

  • weak rope or weak breaking points
  • maximum rope diameters
  • sinking rope between pots and traps
  • reductions in vertical and floating rope