Two right whales were spotted in the Gulf of St Lawrence. This is weeks ahead of traditional arrival. Photo: Center for Coastal Studies/NOAA permit #19315)

Whales seen in Gulf of St. Lawrence, fisheries closed


Last year there was a record 18 North Atlantic right whale deaths in the waters of eastern North America. Most of them were in the Gulf of St Lawrence and were attributed in large part to entanglement with fishing gear.

With no calves spotted this year, the future of the species is extremely worrisome, and all efforts are being made to avoid further deaths to the already greatly endangered species.

Rescuers off Cape Cod attempt to cut the fishing line which has entangnled a female right whale for three years. They say she looks weak and thin. The ropes were partially cut by an arrow but it is not know if it was enough to eventually break the lines

Earlier this year, a right whale was spotted tangled in fishing gear off Cape Cod. The female whale is seen taking a breath on the surface just as a cutting arrow is about to hit the ropes. The ropes were nicked by the arrow but it is not certain if that was enough to eventually break the ropes. Photo Courtesy Center for Coastal Studies.

When two right whales were spotted in the Gulf off the coast of New Brunswick, Canada’s Fisheries Minister, Dominic Leblanc announced an immediate closure of several fishing zones.

Moira Brown of the Canadian Whale Institute in Campobello, New Brunswick said the plankton the whales feed on has been showing up earlier in the season in the past few years, hence the whales are appearing in the Gulf and Bay of Fundy weeks ahead of their typical arrival in mid to late July and early August. She notes no whales have so far been seen in the Bay of Fundy.

Gear must be out by Wednesday afternoon.

The fishery closure order was originally to have all fishing gear out of the water by yesterday afternoon, but the order was delayed 24 hours due to strong winds.

DOTTEDGREEN LINE shows extent of speed reduction zone into St Lawrence. GREEN ZONE shows dynamic shipping zone, RED shows dynamic closure due to whale sighting, YELLOW shows static fishery closure, DARKER YELLOW shows area of temporary closure

This order to stop activity includes fishing for  snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk. The closures will also apply to fixed-gear winter flounder and Atlantic halibut, except where gear is not left unattended.

In an effort to reduce the hazard from entanglements from crab fishing gear, the season was started early this year in hopes of ending the season before whales began to appear.

The closure lasts for 15 days and the crab and other traps will be allowed back only when two surveillance flights find no whales in the area.

The season will also end two weeks earlier this year, by June 30.

As some of the slow moving whales killed last year were also due to ship strikes, a speed limit for shipping introduced last season has been re-introduced. Ships 20 metres or longer will have to slow to 10 knots in the Gulf. Last year almost 550 ships broke the speed limit, with 14 fined the maximum of $6,000.

Speed limits on commercial shipping have been re-imposed in the Gulf of St Lawrence after two endangered right whales were spotted this week

A right whale near a large ship in the Bay of Fundy, Last year several whale deaths were attributed to being hit by faster moving ships, resulting in speed limits being imposed.
Photo: Kara Mahoney Robinson/New England Aquarium

Lobster fishermen will also have to observe new rules including a limit on  on the amount of  rope floating on the surface, reporting any lost gear, reporting any interactions with marine life including bycatch and any sightings of marine mammal entanglement as well as any sighting of free swimming whales.

Additional information-sources
Categories: Economy, Environment, Indigenous
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.