Three cruise lines have cancelled the Charlottetown part of their journey because of new speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence aimed at protected endangered right whales.
Ten cruise visits have been cancelled so far, said Corryn Clemence, business development manager with the Port of Charlottetown.
As a result, she estimates about 8,000 fewer cruise passengers will be roaming the streets of downtown Charlottetown.
“I’m confident that everyone recognizes the economic impact that it has,” she said. “While we’re doing everything we can do ensure the safety of these whales, I think that everybody’s optimistic that we’ll find a long-term solution that works for everyone.”
Right whale deaths in gulf
In light of right whale deaths this summer, the Canadian government recently restricted ships 20 metres and longer to slow down by 10 knots, or about 18.5 kilometres per hour, to help prevent further deaths to the endangered species.
‘I’m confident that everyone recognizes the economic impact that it has.’ – Corryn Clemence
“In order for them to maintain the scheduled itineraries they’ve booked, it’s difficult for them, with that restricted speed zone, to make all of these scheduled calls on time,” Clemence said.
“It has no direct reflection of our relationship or ratings with the cruise line, it’s just an unfortunate situation. We know that the cruise lines want to come here.”
Gaspe, Que, has also lost cruise ship visits, she said.
‘Numbers still strong’
Sydney, N.S., however, added several unexpected cruise ship visits to their port schedule.
Despite the lost calls, Clemence said Charlottetown is still “pacing well ahead of last year.”
“Our numbers are still strong,” she said.