September 25, 2022 | Circular No. 11456

Dear Member,

Further to CL 11431, a trial voluntary slowdown will be in effect in Cabot Strait September 28- November 15, 2022. Cabot Strait is an important North Atlantic right whale (NARW) migration area in the spring and fall.

Vessels have significantly reduced their speed through Cabot Strait during the voluntary slowdown trial so far, providing important protection for these iconic whales. Participation climbed from 31% when the slowdown was first introduced in spring 2020, to 56% voluntary participation in the slowdown this past spring. Industry also has over 95% adherence to the mandatory slowdowns in the Gulf of St. Lawrence this year.

This fall will be the final season of the ‘trial’ of this voluntary measure. The Federation is actively providing input to Transport Canada on longer-term measures for Cabot Strait that provide protection for the whales and at the same time provide predictability and minimize impacts on the shipping industry.

It is important that we continue increasing participation in the Cabot Strait voluntary slowdown. We are therefore once again 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 (with the multi-language postcard and the participation questionnaire, which can be downloaded from the links below) 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.



Miako Ushio
Manager, Environmental and Regulatory Affairs
Shipping Federation of Canada



Dear Captain,

Between September 28 to November 15, Transport Canada 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 North Atlantic right whales that are transiting through the area in greater numbers at this time of year. Transport Canada is also asking vessels to complete a short questionnaire on their intent to participate in the voluntary slowdown. Please complete the attached PDF questionnaire and return directly to Transport Canada at     

Finally, please also note that additional mandatory speed restrictions apply in other areas of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. For more information, see Transport Canada Ship Safety Bulletin 09/2022 and Navigational Warnings.


Thank you for your assistance,