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Further measures coming to protect endangered right whales, minister says

In this Wednesday March 28, 2018 photo, a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Michael Dwyer

Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says Ottawa will announce further measures in the coming weeks to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale.

Speaking to a fishing gear innovation summit in Halifax Tuesday, Jordan didn’t release any details of the coming measures.

READ MORE: 3 North Atlantic right whale calves spotted off coasts of Florida, Georgia

She did say measures announced last year that will see marked fishing gear identify such things as country, region and fishery, will take effect during the upcoming fishing season.

Jordan says the change is important because it will help track exactly where whale entanglements occur.

The minister says testing also continues on new technology such as ropeless gear, which could help reduce the risk of entanglements for whales.

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READ MORE: 2 new North Atlantic right whale calves spotted off coast of Florida

More than 250 harvesters and fishing gear manufacturers from Canada, the United States, Iceland and Norway are attending the two-day summit.

The right whale population currently stands at about 400 animals, with fewer than 100 breeding females.

Jordan told the summit that nine new calves were born this winter, a figure that is two more than last year and the highest birth rate since 2016.

READ MORE: Fourth North Atlantic right whale calf of the season already injured

Since 2017, at least 29 North Atlantic right whales have died in U.S. and Canadian waters, most of them killed by entanglements with fishing gear and collisions with ships.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2020.

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