April 19, 2022 | Circular No. 11431

Dear Member,

Further to CL 11415, mandatory measures to protect North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) in the Gulf of St Lawrence will be starting on April 20th, 2022. Details can be found in Ship Safety Bulletin No. 09/2022 and on the Federation’s website. Industry has had very high adherence to the mandatory measures to date, providing strong protection for this iconic species in the Gulf of St Lawrence.

In addition to the above, a trial voluntary slowdown will again be in effect in Cabot Strait, which is an important NARW migration area in the spring and fall. A 2-page information sheet to assist you in participating in this trial is available here in English and in French.

Vessels significantly reduced their speed through Cabot Strait during the first two years of the voluntary slowdown trial, making it a success. Participation has climbed dramatically from 31% in spring 2020, to 55% in the fall of 2021. However, there is room for improvement in 2022, which will be the third and final year of the ‘trial.’

It is important that we continue to increase participation in the Cabot Strait voluntary slowdown in 2022. We are therefore seeking the assistance of ship agents, owners, and operators in ensuring that each vessel that will be traveling through Cabot is provided with the message at the bottom of this CL and the multi-language postcard, well in advance of its transit, as part of the voyage planning process.

Ship agents are the primary conduit of information for this voluntary measure. Your commitment to, and active support of, the voluntary slowdown in Cabot Strait is an important element in the effort to protect the critically endangered right whales. Thank you for your assistance.


Chris Hall

President & CEO

Shipping Federation of Canada



Dear Captain,

Between April 20 – June 28 and September 28 – November 15 2022, Transport Canada (the national maritime regulator) is asking vessels transiting through Cabot Strait to voluntarily slow down to 10 knots or less over the ground, when safe to do so, to help reduce the risk of a lethal collision with the endangered North Atlantic Right Whales that are transiting through the area in greater numbers at this time of year. Please find a multi-language postcard about the voluntary slowdown attached.

As a reminder, vessels are still required to adhere to the mandatory speed restrictions that are in effect in other areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For more information, see Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 09/2022 and Navigational Warnings.

Attachment: Cabot Strait multi-language postcard