Endangered whales win right of way
Only a few hundred right whales remain
By James Cowling
Endangered whales are to be given right of way in North Atlantic waters off Canada.
The International Maritime Organisation has given Canada permission to re-route shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy, off the coast of Nova Scotia, which is a haven for migrating right whales.
Collisions have halved the right whale population
The slow-moving mammals are the most endangered
large whales on earth.
They number just 350 worldwide and have been on the
list of protected species since 1936.
The whales migrate from the eastern coast of the United
States to the Bay of Fundy every year, and current shipping
lanes cut across their summering grounds.
Earlier this year, the Canadian Government asked the International Maritime Organisation to modify shipping routes in the area to reduce the risk of collision between ships and whales.
Experts who track the whales say ship collisions are their
Since 1991, almost 50% of them have been killed in such
The new lanes will come into effect at the beginning of
summer 2003 and will reduce the chance of a ship hitting
a whale by 80%.