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Quebec Bulletin
February - March 2015/Volume 18/Number 1

Public Consultations on Listing Two Whale Species under the Species at Risk Act

Two killer whales leap out of water
NOAA R. Pittman
Killer whale

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is currently considering the possible listing of the killer whale (Northwest Atlantic-Eastern Arctic population) and the bowhead whale (Eastern Canada - West Greenland population) as species of special concern under the Species at Risk Act.

Historically, killer whales were common in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence; however, they are now most often recorded in the coastal waters of Newfoundland, and increasingly in the eastern Arctic, particularly within the Hudson Bay region. The killer whale was designated species of special concern because of its small population size (less than 1000 mature individuals) combined with its low growth rate.

The tail and head of a bowhead whale
DFO J. Higdon
Bowhead whale

Bowhead whales are found in Baffin Bay, the Canadian High Arctic and Hudson Bay. Commercial whale hunting was once the greatest threat to the bowhead whale and the main reason why the species is at risk in parts of its range. While commercial harvesting is today illegal, a small subsistence hunt is permitted.

Present threats to these two populations are man-made underwater noise, net entanglements, ship strikes, pollution and climate change. If the killer whale or the bowhead whale is listed as of special concern, Fisheries and Oceans Canada would use the best available information to develop a management plan for these species in collaboration and consultation with stakeholders and partners.

Let your voice be heard

You are invited to comment on whether these species should be protected under the Species at Risk Act. For more information or to provide your comments, consult the following documents:

Bowhead Whale (Eastern Canada/ West Greenland population) Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act
Species at Risk Public Registry, Government of Canada

Killer Whale (Northwest Atlantic/Eastern Arctic Population) Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act
Species at Risk Public Registry, Government of Canada

Or contact us:

Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Species at Risk Management
850 route de la Mer
P.O. Box 1000
Mont-Joli, Quebec G5H 3Z4

Please provide your comments by March 15, 2015.

Andréanne Demers
Ecosystems Management

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