MONCTON, N.B. – The federal fisheries minister says 12 North Atlantic right whales have been spotted in an area off New Brunswick that’s been closed to fishing in order to protect the endangered species.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has taken measures this spring following the death of 18 North Atlantic right whales in Canadian and U.S. waters last year.
There are believed to be fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remaining.
Six fishing areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are closed to several fisheries as of May 22, including snow crab, rock crab and lobster.
The department is enforcing a static closure zone in the Gulf of St. Lawrence along New Brunswick’s northern coast from April 28 to June 30.
According to Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc, that’s where the 12 whales have been spotted.
“Any whales sighted in this zone do not required additional management measures, and we will continue to monitor the situation,” he tweeted on Thursday afternoon.
DFO is also enforcing dynamic management closures, which will shut down fishing activities for a minimum of 15 days when there is the confirmed presence of North Atlantic right whales.