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DFO closes fishing area after endangered right whales spotted in Gulf

The head of a North Atlantic right whale peers up from the water as another whale passes behind in Cape Cod Bay near Provincetown, Mass. on April 10, 2008.
The head of a North Atlantic right whale peers up from the water as another whale passes behind in Cape Cod Bay near Provincetown, Mass. on April 10, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Stephan Savoia

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is implementing the first season-long fishing closure of the year after North Atlantic right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

READ MORE: 2 North Atlantic right whales spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence

DFO says a cluster of eight grids in the middle of the Gulf will be closed until November 15.

In a release, the department says the closure is expected to have minimal impacts on nearby fishing areas for crab, lobster and groundfish.

Feds launch new protections for North Atlantic right whales
Feds launch new protections for North Atlantic right whales

The new, dynamic closure protocol replaces the static closure area that was in place in 2018 and 2019.

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The protocol is aimed providing enhanced protections for the endangered whales by closing areas where they are gathering.

READ MORE: Nova Scotia coast chosen as potential home for retired whales raised in captivity

There are only about 400 of the animals left in existence.