Notices to Fish Harvesters

Whelk - 15 - Magdalen Islands

Notice to Fish Harvesters - 2017-09-01





MAGDALEN ISLANDS – September 1st, 2017


The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is temporarily modifying the whelk fishing areas to allow fishing activities only in waters shallower than 20 fathoms.


The right whale is listed as an endangered species under the Species at Risk Act. The population is estimated at approximately 500 individuals. Considering that vessel strikes, fishing gear entanglement and marine noise pollution pose significant threats to the right whale population, the Department is now seeking the collaboration of fish harvesters in order to reduce risks to this species.


Since rights whales are still are still present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, DFO is implementing measures to minimize entanglement risks by limiting whelk fishing activities in waters shallower than 20 fathoms. You will find the details of the new temporary fishing areas in the annex. This management measure will be in place as long as right whales are present in the Gulf.


As soon as DFO determines that the threat of entanglement of right whales in fishing gear will no longer be present in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, management measures for whelk will be reassessed.


All the other management measures remain unchanged.


The Department recommends that all operators using fixed fishing gear (ex: cages, nets, longlines) identified with buoys, systematically employ sinking lines on the buoy rope to reduce the risk of entanglement.


Furthermore, when right whales are observed in a fishing zone, fish harvesters must relocate their fishing gear to another zone where whales have not recently been observed.


The Department reminds license holders to not attempt to free the whale themselves. All observed right whales must be reported as soon as possible to the Marine Mammal Emergencies network at 1-877-722-5346 and noted in the appropriate section of the logbook.


Fisheries and Oceans Canada is committed to ensuring the protection, conservation and recovery of the right whale. The Department is equally committed to ensuring environmentally responsible fishing.


For more information:


To learn more about the right whale situation, please visit the following website: 


Or contact : 418-986-2095.


Dario Lemelin

A/Area Director

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Magdalen Islands


Date modified: