VANCOUVER, Aug. 8, 2017 /CNW/ - Whales are critical to our marine ecosystems. As they are a key part of the marine food web, the health of these marine mammal populations is a key indicator of the health of our coastal waters.
But we know some of Canada's whales are under threat. To help them, Canada needs to take action and reduce the pressures of human activity on whales within our waters.
Today, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North – Seymour, Terry Beech, on the behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, announced that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is launching Let's Talk Whales, an online public engagement that asks Canadians and stakeholders about proposed recovery measures to help three whale species in Canada: the North Atlantic Right Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the Southern Resident Killer Whale.
DFO scientists have reviewed what we have done so far and identified areas for immediate improvement. While our science tells us what actions are needed, implementing these actions will not be easy and will require the support and collaboration of Canadians and stakeholders to get the job done.
Views submitted as part of this engagement will inform potential immediate actions to help the recovery of these iconic whales.
Canadians can participate online at www.letstalkwhales.ca from now until September 19, 2017.
The Let's Talk Whales online engagement is one of many actions the Government of Canada is taking to help support the recovery of our whales.
DFO is providing $388,000 to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to support a Vessel Slowdown Trial in Haro Strait, BC—an important summer feeding area for the Southern Resident Killer Whale. This first-of-its-kind study will examine how slower vessel speeds impact underwater noise levels and effects on the Southern Resident Killer Whale, and is an example of the importance of collaboration with industry to ensure a healthy marine environment.
DFO is providing $56,000 towards the Whales, Habitat and Listening Experiment (WHaLE). This project aims to develop a real-time whale alert system for mariners, which will inform measures to help reduce whale and ship collisions in Canadian waters. The Department looks forward to continuing to work with WHaLE, the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network (MEOPAR) and Dalhousie University on this important project.
"Whales play an important role in our marine ecosystems, and have long inspired awe. I encourage all Canadians to participate in this very important online engagement. Tell us your views of the recovery actions proposed and the impacts they might have and how we can all collaborate to be a part of the solution. Together, we must take action in order to conserve and protect these majestic creatures."
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
"Whales captivate our imaginations but these magnificent mammals are also incredibly vulnerable. New threats such as ship strikes, entanglements, pollution and climate change are taking a toll on whales around the world. Letstalkwhales.ca is an opportunity to not just be part of the discussion but also part of the solution. Go online and share your ideas. An all-hands-on-deck approach is needed to further protect these three endangered whales."
Terry Beech, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard and Member of Parliament for Burnaby North-Seymour
- Let's Talk Whales is an initiative under the Oceans Protection Plan, the Government of Canada's $1.5 billion investment to improve marine safety and protect Canada's marine environment.
- The Southern Resident Killer Whale, the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga and the North Atlantic Right Whale are listed as endangered species at risk.
- These whales have been identified as facing increased pressures, particularly due to development in their marine areas from human activities.
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SOURCE Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) Canada
For further information: Media Relations, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-990-7537, Media.firstname.lastname@example.org; Laura Gareau, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, 613-992-3474, Laura.Gareau@dfo-mpo.gc.ca