New measures to protect North Atlantic right whales from ship strikes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

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Transport Canada is concerned about the deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For the second year, Transport Canada is taking action to minimize risks to North Atlantic right whales and marine personnel in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

LYNE MORISSETTE: NEW MARITIME INFORMATION BUREAU MARINE MAMMALS AND MARINE ECOSYSTEMS EXPERT

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Québec City, March 22, 2018 – The Maritime Information Bureau (MIB), a one-stop information window and the reference for all questions regarding the marine industry and the key issues affecting it, is pleased to announce that, in future, Lyne Morissette will be our expert in files related to marine mammals and marine ecosystems.

Government announces new initiatives to protect whales under the Oceans Protection Plan

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Government announces initiatives to protect whales: A $12,2 million investment to study the impacts of underwater noise, to develop technologies able to detect the presence of whales in real time and to help protect and recover endangered whale species in Canada.

MIB INFO UPDATE: SPEED RESTRICTION AND RIGHT WHALES

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The Maritime Information Bureau (MIB) has prepared a special infosheet on right whales, highlighting the reasons for this measure’s implementation and its impacts on shipping.

Global treaty to halt invasive aquatic species enters into force

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A key international measure for environmental protection that aims to stop the spread of potentially invasive aquatic species in ships’ ballast water enters into force today (8 September 2017).

The International Convention for the Control and Management of Ships’ Ballast Water and Sediments (BWM Convention) requires ships to manage their ballast water to remove, render harmless, or avoid the uptake or discharge of aquatic organisms and pathogens within ballast water and sediments.

MIB Info Update: Énergie Saguenay and belugas

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In response to an article that ran in the daily newspaper Le Journal de Montréal on September 6, 2017 about the development of a methane port project in the Saguenay and its impact on the beluga, the Maritime Information Bureau (MIB) would like to rectify the following information:

1. Fact sheet issued by federal authorities vs. formal notice from Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Contrary to what is indicated in the article, the document from Fisheries and Oceans Canada is not a formal DFO notice on GNL Québec’s Énergie Saguenay project, but a “fact sheet issued by federal authorities.” This type of fact sheet is actually a form the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEEA) distributes to the different federal government departments concerned after a promoter tables a project description. On this fact sheet, the federal government departments can indicate the expertise they have to eventually perform an environmental assessment of the project and to raise its potential and anticipated adverse effects. This work precedes the environmental impact study and is not at all an exhaustive analysis or assessment of a project or its environmental impacts.

MIB Info Update: Shipping Regulations

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In response to an article that ran in the daily newspaper Le Quotidien on August 16, 2017, the Maritime Information Bureau (MIB) would like to point out that virtually all aspects of the shipping industry are highly regulated, as shown below (ref).

1. International regulations

The very nature of shipping, which is central to global trade, requires regulation at the international level. International maritime regulations are developed by specialized United Nations agencies, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO). The IMO currently has 172 member states and the conventions (about 30) it has developed since its creation address various aspects, including international shipping safety and security and the prevention of pollution from ships. According to the IMO, “[…] many Conventions now apply to more than 98% of world merchant shipping tonnage (ref).”

GREEN MARINE PARTICIPANTS EMBRACE NEW ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGES

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Green Marine is marking its 10th anniversary as North America’s environmental certification program for the maritime industry by holding its annual conference at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six until tomorrow. GreenTech 2017 opened this morning with the release of the 2016 environmental performance results of Green Marine’s more than 100 participants and a good news story to share.

Green Marine’s participants obtained an overall average of 3.1 on a 1-to-5 scale that has Level 1 requiring the monitoring of regulations and Level 5 reflecting excellence and leadership. The overall average of the participants for all performance indicators has remained quite steady over the past few years even though new indicators have been introduced and the criteria for existing indicators have been made significantly more demanding in several cases.

MIB Info Update: Ballast Waters and Aquatic Invasive Species

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In response to an article that ran in the daily newspaper Le Devoir on March 18, 2017, the Marine Information Bureau (MIB) would like to clarify a few things regarding ballast water management measures applicable to vessels navigating in Canada.

Ballast water – What is it?

Ballast water is essential for the safe operation of merchant ships, allowing them to navigate at the proper depth and ensuring their stability. Ballasting is necessary when a vessel carries heavy cargo in one hold and a lighter load in another, when it is travelling empty or when the sea is rough.

When ballast waters are discharged, non-indigenous, potentially invasive, aquatic species may be introduced. However, international and Canadian regulations have been in effect for a number of years now (2004 and 2006 respectively) to address this problem.

GREEN MARINE RELEASES ITS NEW PERFORMANCE INDICATORS FOR UNDERWATER NOISE

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Quebec City, Wednesday, January 25, 2017 – Green Marine is broadening the scope of its North American environmental certification program by adding two performance indicators dealing with underwater noise emanating from ships and port activities respectively, with the goal of reducing the impact on marine mammals.

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