May 15, 2018 6:04 pm

First right whale of the year spotted in Canadian waters: DFO

Marine mammal experts have warned that this could be the beginning of the end for the whales who were once favoured by hunters who dubbed them the right whales because of their slow-moving, surface-skimming behaviour that made them easy prey.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Center for Coastal Studies

Canada’s Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says the first right whale of the year in waters north of the border has been spotted.

In a social media post, DFO said the whale was reported by one of its Conservation and Protection flights off the coast of eastern Cape Breton.

READ MORE: Ottawa will enforce new lobster fishing measures along N.B. coast to protect right whales

DFO issued new regulations to lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick last month in response to the deaths of 18 North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters last year.

The notice to fish harvesters includes closing parts of the water off New Brunswick’s coast to lobster fishermen, a reduction of the amount of rope floating on the surface of the water, and a requirement to report all lost fishing gear.

DFO has not discontinued fishing due to the right whale sighting, but is telling harvesters to be on alert.

There are only about 450 North Atlantic right whales remaining.

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