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Slowing ships a good start for North Atlantic right whales

But permanent, meaningful protections are needed to reverse the decline of this vulnerable population

/EIN News/ -- TORONTO, Aug. 11, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The following statement from WWF-Canada president and CEO David Miller is in response to this Government of Canada announcement of new measures to protect North Atlantic right whales.

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 “WWF-Canada is pleased that the Government of Canada has taken measures to slow ships in areas where endangered North Atlantic right whales are known to frequent. It’s an important step. But temporary measures such as these are not enough to reverse the decline of these whales.

 We need to ensure permanent, meaningful protections for the vital habitat of North Atlantic right whales and other vulnerable marine wildlife. The government is planning to create a marine protected area (MPA) around the Laurentian Channel, where North Atlantic right whales are known to frequent. But proposed regulations will still allow oil and gas drilling and seismic blasts in 80 per cent of the MPA. These activities threaten whales and other wildlife. An oil spill would be even more devastating.

 We also need to understand why ship strikes and fishing gear entanglement have contributed to the sharp spike in whales deaths this year, with at least 12 having perished from a population estimated to number only about 500. For example, lack of sufficient food or poisoning from ingesting toxic substances in the ocean risk leaving the whales diminished, disoriented and less able to avoid dangerous ships and harmful fishing gear. We need a better understanding to take more appropriate measures based on the best available science.”

About World Wildlife Fund Canada

WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

Attachments:

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/bff2a6f7-b4d4-40c0-a435-769550c78237

Philippe Devos
                    WWF-Canada
                    416-453-0092
                    pdevos@wwfcanada.org
                    

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