Due to the increased presence of North Atlantic Right Whales (NARWs) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, seasonal speed restrictions apply from April 28 to November 15, 2020 through a combination of a static speed zones and five dynamic shipping corridors.

A. Mandatory Static Zones (areas in light pink):

Two static zones are established, to the north and to the south of the Dynamic Shipping Zones. Vessels are instructed to proceed at a speed not exceeding 10kts over the ground in these two static zones.  Mariners are however encouraged to take into consideration the potential for their vessel striking NARWs when considering a “safe operational speed” during navigation.

New for 2020: Two Seasonal Management Areas where the static speed restriction will apply only between April 28 to June 30, in recognition of NARW distribution in past season (see SMA-1 and SMA-2 in map below).

B. Mandatory Dynamic Shipping Zones (areas in green):

Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed when the Government of Canada has completed aerial surveillance over the dynamic shipping zones and determined that no whales are present in these areas.  Information on applicable speed limits is continuously broadcasted to vessels by the CCG MCTS via Navigation warnings (NAVWARNs, formerly known as NOTSHIPs).

As per the latest NAVWARN NW-Q-1664-20 (effective 1900 UTC, November 3, 2020):

  • Sector A: Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed
  • Sector B: Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed
  • Sector C: Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed
  • Sector D: Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed
  • Sector E: Vessels may proceed at a safe operational speed

Click HERE for the full text of the NAVWARN

C. Voluntary slowdown in Cabot Strait (shaded grey area – NEW for 2020)

Between October 1 to November 15:  Vessels are asked to voluntarily reduce speed to 10.0 knots, in order to minimize the risk of vessel collision, as NARWs are migrating out of the Gulf through this corridor. Click HERE for the NAVWARN and HERE for a 2-page instruction to vessels


Coordinates for the above areas can be accessed through TC Ship Safety Bulletin 11/2020 – Please click HERE

NOTE: Although the above information will be updated as often as possible, NAVWARNs issued by the Canadian authorities remain the source of information to ensure compliance and can be accessed through the CCG website (click HERE).