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Species at Risk Act - Legal Listing Consultation Workbook, Fin whale (Atlantic Population)

Overview of potential consequences for different stakeholders

This consultation workbook was designed so that the different stakeholders can better understand the implications on their activities of adding fin whale (Atlantic population) to the List of Species at Risk as a species “of special concern”.

After listing, a management plan should be developed in collaboration with the industries and different interest groups. This management plan could include awareness measures, developing “good practices”, or more restrictive measures with consequences on the activities of related stakeholders. In order to better illustrate this fact, listed below are a few examples of possible consequences. Obviously, this is not an extensive list of measures and is not necessarily a representation of what will actually become the adopted measures.

The whale watching industry could be subject to stricter regulations. These regulations could focus on increasing the minimum distance to be maintained between whales and boats, reducing boat speeds near blue whales, or reducing the amount of time tour boats can spend near fin whales.

In a similar context, the industry of commercial or recreational boating could contribute by finding a navigation corridor that would divert ships from areas where fin whales are found in abundance. Research vessels could be required to conform to stricter guidelines since protection of the fin whale could restrict the kind of research allowed in areas that are deemed vital for this marine mammal.

With regards to seismic exploration and oil and gas development, different and/or more detailed guidelines could be developed: partial or complete exclusion areas, temporal restrictions of exploration and exploitation activities during certain periods of the year, having automated acoustic whale detection systems, calling on independent observers, or any other suitable measure.

The fishing industry could experience restrictions with regard to the use of certain fishing gear, or have limited access to specific sectors according to the time of year. The commercial exploitation of krill, which could potentially increase, could contribute to find solutions for sharing the resource where fin whales feed.