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Right whales: uncertainty remains among fishermen

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Nov22,2023

Right whales: uncertainty remains among fishermen

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The American decision creates uncertainty in Gaspésie.


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Gaspé fishermen have a two-year reprieve, but concerns remain about the United States' evaluation of their practices to protect marine mammals. This is because the American Oceanic and Atmospheric Observation Agency is postponing until 2025 the implementation of standards for the protection of marine mammals, such as the right whale, which involves closely evaluating practices. from 130 countries, including Canada.

This decision, ultimately postponed, could have an immense impact on fishermen. If the American agency judges that Canada is not doing enough to protect marine mammals, it could decide to exclude Canadian seafood products from its market.

The news sparked many reactions in the Atlantic provinces. In Gaspésie, the general director of the Quebec Fishing Industries Association, Jean-Paul Gagné, believes that American standards are not higher than Canadian standards.

He judges that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the American equivalent of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, may have bowed to pressure from American lobbyists. In our opinion, it is the lobbies who are influential. In any case, it's not bad news to delay by two years and we are convinced that we can overcome this pitfall, he said.

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Jean-Paul Gagné is general director of the Quebec Fishing Industry Association.

I think the Americans will be forced to change their minds. Well, if they are lobbyists, we will have to counter them, adds Jean-Paul Gagné.

Steps have been taken in recent years across the country to prevent the deaths of right whales, a species listed as endangered by the federal government.

Methods for protecting marine mammals: the Americans are giving themselves until the end of 2025 to decide.BROADCAST HERE FIRST.At the heart of the world.

Methods for protecting marine mammals: Americans are giving themselves until the end of 2025 to decide

BROADCAST HERE FIRSTIn the heart of the world

Listen to the audio (Methods for protecting marine mammals:  the Americans are giving themselves until the end of 2025 to decide. 11 minutes 9 seconds)

According to Ottawa, there are only 336 right whales left in the world. Many fishermen believe that the measures put in place in Canada already go much further than what the Americans are doing to protect the species.

Everything that is currently done in terms of capture is to protect the whale.

A quote from Jean-Paul Gagné, general director of the Quebec Association of Fishing Industries

If the American postponement to 2025 guarantees fishermen and processors two years of access to the American market, it also makes them experience great uncertainty about the future of their exports to the United States.

Jean-Paul Gagné would like Fisheries and Oceans to do more to defend Canadian fishermen. These are actions that must be done. Not just statements from a minister or an MP. It’s concerted action between these provinces, the federal government and the industry that will bear fruit, he said.

We will not stop all fishing around the world because of the right whale. The Americans will have to agree with us on the practices put forward in the future and we will respect everything necessary to protect the right whale, he adds.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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