Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) announced Monday that two right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on May 3 by a surveillance aircraft, studying the animals.
The North Atlantic right whales have returned to Canadian waters after 10 calves were observed in U.S. waters in 2020, said DFO in a statement.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, DFO said it will continue in its effort to protect North Atlantic right whales, which are approximately only 400 in number.
“Conservation and Protection aircraft are currently monitoring fishing areas for North Atlantic right whales and will monitor any fishery closure areas to ensure compliance with the law,” said DFO.
The department also said multiple surveillance aircraft are monitoring and surveying whale distribution.
Moreover, despite the pandemic, DFO said it will go on to implement its 2020 fishery management measures, which include a new season-long closure protocol will be in place in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Ten calves were observed in U.S. waters in 2020, but one of the calves is presumed dead.
“It is assumed that the whale, which was last seen in January 2020, died via vessel strike in U.S. waters,” DFO said.