May 24, 2018 3:45 pm

12 North Atlantic right whales spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence area recently closed to fishing

Twelve North Atlantic right whales were spotted in an area recently closed off to fishing.

File/ Global News

Canada’s fisheries minister says his department has confirmed the presence of 12 North Atlantic right whales in an area off the coast of New Brunswick that’s been closed to fishing in order to protect the endangered species.

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

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) issued a notice to lobster fishermen in April about new measures, after 18 North Atlantic right whales were killed in Canadian and U.S. waters last year.

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 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.

As of May 22, six fishing areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are closed to several fisheries, including snow crab, rock crab and lobster.

There are believed to be fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remaining.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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