Roseway Basin

Roseway Basin is located between Browns and Baccaro Banks on the western Scotian Shelf, south of Nova Scotia. Whalers operating out of Blandford, Nova Scotia, in pursuit of fin and sei whales reported right whales in this region and other areas of the Scotian Shelf between 1966 and 1972. In the late 1970s researchers from the University of Rhode Island reported right whales during their aerial surveys of the region. More complete photo identification work was conducted in the early 1980s. New England Aquarium researchers had a record day in 1986 when over 70 individuals were photographed and identified. Researchers already knew about the Bay of Fundy summer and fall nursery ground, but a large portion of the population was still unaccounted for during that time of the year. Roseway Basin is believed to be part of the answer. Most individuals seen on Roseway Basin are juvenile and adult males and females without calves. Some of the largest courtship groups have been witnessed in this region. In 1993, Roseway Basin was formally recognized as a conservation area for North Atlantic right whales.

Right whales aggregate during summer and fall on Roseway Basin. Interestingly, females with calves are rarely seen in that important habitat.
There are currently no internationally mandated shipping lanes across Roseway Basin, but large vessels transiting the western Scotian Shelf, to and from the ports of Saint John, Halifax, the eastern United States and Western Europe regularly cross the area. This traffic increases the probability of a vessel strike, a major cause of mortality in right whales. Researchers are presently investigating different stewardship measures to reduce the impact of shipping on right whales in Roseway Basin. Entanglement in fishing gear is also a potential hazard. As in the Bay of Fundy, fishermen will be encouraged to abide by a voluntary Code of Conduct for Fisherman.

Large groups of right whales are often seen socializing in the Roseway Basin Conservation Area.

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