The high risk period for Asian Gypsy Moth ends on September 15th in Canada. During the period between September 16 to February 28th in Western Canada, a phytosanitary certificate for vessels arriving from regulated areas is not required but vessels may be subject to a random inspection.
The Government of Canada has announced a $50.8 million Coastal Environmental Baseline Program that will support scientists from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and community partners in collecting comprehensive baseline data in six areas of the country where there is existing or potential increasing vessel traffic: Port of Vancouver, BC; Port of Prince Rupert, BC; Lower St. Lawrence Estuary, QC; Port of Saint John, NB; and Placentia Bay, NL. The sixth area will be located in the Arctic. By studying the current state of these areas, the intention is to better detect changes in the environment and improve our understanding of the effects of human activity on the marine environment over time. Partnerships with local Indigenous and coastal communities will have valuable insights and expertise about their local ecosystems, and are expected to assist in determining what data will be collected in each area.
Following last week's penalty on the Seven Seas Navigator, Transport Canada has issued another $6,000 penalty this time to the vessel Petalon for an alleged non-compliance with the temporary mandatory slow down in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island. While the shipping industry in general has been proactive in respecting the speed limits, the Government of Canada is determined to enforce the temporary mandatory slow down.
Transport Canada has issued a $6,000 penalty to the Seven Seas Navigator vessel for not complying with the mandatory slow down of vessels 20 metres or more to a maximum of 10 knots. The speed restriction was put in place on August 11, 2017 as one of the mitigation measures following the deaths of several North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in a short period of time. The speed restriction applies to vessels travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the Quebec north shore and just north of Prince Edward Island. The Government of Canada is working with the maritime industry to find more permanent solutions to protect the North Atlantic right whales.
The Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has announced the creation of the NAFTA Advisory Council on the Environment. A modernized North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) presents an opportunity to strengthen environmental protections. When NAFTA came into effect in 1994, it was the first free-trade agreement to link the environment and trade through a historic side chapter on environmental cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. In the more-than-three decades since, the close cooperation between these countries has led to positive environmental action across North America while their economies have grown and have become more integrated. During these decades, the world has come to recognize that protecting the environment, addressing climate change, and supporting economic growth go hand in hand.
The ten-member council brings together prominent Canadians from politics, law, and Indigenous groups. This expert council includes former Quebec premier, Pierre-Marc Johnson; former British Columbia premier, Gordon Campbell; former Saskatchewan cabinet minister, Janice MacKinnon; and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President, Natan Obed. The council will advise the Minister as Canada looks to strengthen environmental protections in a modernized NAFTA.
Transport Canada issued a news release stating that it will be investing $175 millions of dollars under the Oceans Protection Plan to protect Canada's Arctic waters. Investments will be made in safety equipment and basic marine infrastructure in northern communities, while low impact shipping corridors will be identified in coastal waters. Investments include:
These new measures will allow Canada’s Northern territories to be better equipped, better regulated, and better prepared to protect their marine environment and coastal communities.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) has now released its report on the May 24 2016 collision of two tugs near Gabriola Island. In the 6-8 seconds it took the master of the CT Titan to move from the flying bridge to the wheelhouse the tug veered to port and struck the bow of the Albern on the starboard side, causing the vessel to capsize and sink. The investigation determined that it was the vessel’s tendency to veer to port or to starboard when the steering controls were unattended, as well as the rudders’ misalignment to port, that likely led to the CT Titan veering to port. Following the occurrence the company sent 10 masters and 10 deckhands to attend a situational awareness and bridge resource management training course at a local training institute.
The Federal Government has announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will lead two projects worth $500,000 that use new DNA-based technologies to reduce the quarantine testing time, helping to boost trade and economic competitiveness in the $240 million Canadian fruit tree industry. The first project will shorten the testing period of seeds, cuttings and bulbs imported into Canada. Scientists will use DNA technology to test for all viruses associated with imported plants which could reduce quarantine testing time by up to two and a half years. The second project streamlines the testing of strawberry plants. Multiple tests for viruses are required before exporting strawberry plants to foreign markets. The project will test for multiple viruses in a single test, dramatically reducing the time and cost to get plants to market. The Canadian strawberry plant industry is valued at 17 million.
On August 16, Ron McKinnon, MP for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam and Peter Xotta, Vice President, Planning and Operations at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) announced a federal contribution of $250,000 to the VFPA towards a project to assess real-time information on the supply chain performance for all rail cargo moving to and from the Port of Vancouver. The port authority launched the Supply Chain Visibility Project in 2015. The Government's contribution will fund a concept phase that will focus on measuring the performance of the grain and fertilizer sectors, while also addressing data quality issues. By analyzing railcar activity data in the Lower Mainland, the port authority's Supply Chain Visibility Project contributes to three objectives of the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund. These include improving the efficiency of the national multimodal transportation network; enhancing transportation infrastructure safety, security and quality of life; and, improving the connectivity of intermodal interfaces.
August 11, 2017 Shédiac, New Brunswick Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Today, the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport and the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard issued the following statement:
“Canada takes the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered species very seriously. The recent deaths of several North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are extremely concerning.
“There is evidence that the North Atlantic right whales have been increasingly present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent years. Our government has already taken action and will continue to ensure that measures are in place for the protection of this species and the safety of mariners using these waters.
“In our efforts to do everything possible to prevent further whale deaths, our government is today implementing a temporary mandatory slow down for vessels of 20 metres or more in length. Speed must be reduced to a maximum of 10 knots when travelling in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Quebec north shore to just north of Prince Edward Island. This temporary measure is effective immediately.
“Transport Canada inspectors, with assistance from the Canadian Coast Guard’s Marine Communications and Traffic Services, will enforce this precautionary measure until the whales have migrated from the areas of concern. Failure to comply will result in an Administrative Monetary Penalty of up to $25,000.
“We continue to work with partners to better understand what may have caused the deaths of the North Atlantic right whales—to that end, several necropsies were carried on as many whales as possible.
“We have taken extensive action to ensure the protection of North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, including decisions around fisheries. To help prevent entanglements, the Snow Crab Fishing Area 12 in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence was closed, and other fixed gear fisheries such as rock and toad crab fisheries have either been restricted to fish in shallow water or have had a delayed opening. Future fisheries decisions relating to the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence will take the presence of North Atlantic right whales into account.
“In addition to the reduced speed requirements being introduced today, monitoring and enforcement will continue with Transport Canada’s National Aerial Surveillance Program and Fisheries and Oceans surveillance overflights to aid these new measures.
“Our government is already taking steps to protect Canada’s marine environment through a $1.5 billion investment in the Oceans Protection Plan. As part of the plan to protect marine mammals from the effects of shipping, including collisions and noise pollution, researchers are working to locate and track marine mammals in high vessel traffic areas and provide this information to mariners.
“We all have a responsibility to ensure that our marine resources are protected for future generations, and must take every step we can to help prevent whale deaths. As we take further concrete steps today, we continue to consider all options to help prevent future whale deaths.
“We look forward to the collaboration of all fishermen and mariners.”
On Tuesday August 8th, 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.
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.
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), an agency established to promote the development and diversification of the economy of Western Canada will receive increased funding worth $25 million over five years. With its two strategic priorities for 2017-18 on innovation and Indigenous economic growth, funding wil be directed towards :
Following a three-day retreat with her caucus, Christy Clark announced that she will resign as BC Liberal Leader and as MLA for Kelowna-Westside. Clark’s resignation takes effect August 4th. Her departure gives the NDP a two-seat edge in the house until a new MLA is elected. For the NDP, the vacant seat provides some breathing room on the tight numbers they have in the legislature. Former Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Development Rich Coleman will act as Interim Leader. There were no details on who will serve as interim leader. Party president Sharon White has 28 days to call a meeting of the Party Executive and officially begin a new leadership selection process. A by-election will be held in Kelowna-Westside within six months.
National Research Council of Canada (NRC) hosted dignitaries from the United States Coast Guard (USCG), United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science & Technology (S&T) Directorate, and United States (U.S.) Navy to discuss and showcase progress made on the testing and evaluation of design models for the US heavy polar icebreaker acquisition program. During this phase, the NRC is conducting environmental characterization of ice conditions using physical modelling from its ice tank. The Canadian and U.S. governments are also working on the long-term management of the polar icebreaker’s hull integrity, which they will assess through field trials.
Yesteday Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) closed the Snow Crab Fishing Area 12 in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. This quick decision was made in reaction to the discovery of the eighth North Atlantic Right whale found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on July 19th. Another Right whale was found entangled in fishing gear in the same area later that day. The recent whale mortalities in the area are unprecedented and this closure is an important measure to address the situation. In light of last week’s tragic incident, DFO has paused Right whale disentanglements.
The investigation on damages caused to Yamachiche residences by the vessel EM KEA travelling on Lake Saint-Pierre on April 26, 2017 has concluded that the vessel contravened the Notice to Mariners in effect. The Notice to Mariners issued earlier that month requested mariners to navigate at safe speed in order to avoid damages to shore properties and to pay particular attention when meeting or overtaking. AIS data has confirmed that the vessel was transiting at a speed of 17.6 knots and the investigation confirmed that at the time of the incident, a licensed pilot, a member of the Corporation des pilotes du Saint-Laurent Central (CPSLC), was on board the EM KEA and that there was no critical situation requiring the vessel to travel at such a speed on Lake Saint-Pierre. The Minister of Transport has stated that he intends under the Pilotage Act review to address the need for greater accountability and penalties for actions deemed to be negligent on the part of pilots performing their duties on behalf of recognized pilotage organizations.
Transport Canada issued a news release announcing a five-year extension to the Government's agreement with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation to manage, maintain, and operate the Seaway. This extends the agreement until 31 March 2023.