First right whale of the season spotted in Canadian waters

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The fundamental right whale of the season has been seen in Canadian waters after an unprecedented winter in which not a take calf was spotted.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a tweet on Tuesday that the whale was spotted off the glide of eastern Cape Breton during an aerial survey.

In the last year, at least 18 critically near extinction North Atlantic right whales have been found dull off the coast of the U.S. and Canada. That represents about four per cent of the citizens. 

Scientists believe human activity, including shipping and fishing, are the elemental cause.

This year marks the first time there include been no right whale calves observed. Scientists expect to see nourishes and calves making their way north toward Atlantic Canada by the end of February, but so far no person has been seen. 

With no calves this year and only in 100 breeding females left in the population, there are concerns the whales could be 20 years from extinction. 

Earlier this year, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans legislated new measures to help protect the approximately 450 whales left in the far-out. Those included:

  • Closing some waters off the coast of New Brunswick to lobster fishing.
  • An earlier start and end to the snow crab fishery in the southern Abyss of St. Lawrence.
  • Fixed and temporary closures where whales are spotted.
  • A 10-knot scramble restriction earlier in the season for ships travelling in the western Gulf. 

The branch said fishing will continue, but harvesters should be on alert for any switches should DFO decide there is a risk to the creatures.

Snow crab fishing pans up 50%

Prior to the department’s update, six associations representing the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Mid Shore Speedy said statistics for the first 10 days of the fishery that started May 1 eclipse the number of pots fished has increased by more than 50 per cent beared to 2016, while the total catch landed is down slightly at 4,354 tonnes compared to 4,964 tonnes in 2016.

The heaps said that indicates a rush to catch quota in light of a resolving by DFO to shut down access to two major snow crab concentrations in fishing Locality 12. The midshore fleet said that’s forced 130 fishermen into “already exploited” fishing bases outside the closed area.

First right whale of the season spotted in Canadian waters

Fishing associations say there is increased struggle to catch snow crab in the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. (Radio-Canada/Martin Toulgoat)

“What is occasion is that you are diverting the effort outside of that zone and you are retarding the take of the crab,” Robert Hache, director-general of the Acadian Crabbers Association, suggested to The Canadian Press.

The snow crab groups said fishermen are now battling to catch an extra 20 to 30 per cent of the total allowable seize to compensate for the lack of access to the closed area.

As of Tuesday, the federal sphere said 6,319 tonnes had been landed by traditional, First States and new-access fleets in designated areas of Canadian waters, including the Deep.

Snow crab season time a ‘trap’ for whales

The snow crab available ends June 30.

Hache said it would make more common sense to have more widespread fishing during the month of May, to the benefit of fishermen and whales.

He accented fishermen aren’t opposed to measures designed to protect right whales.

“If we could prepare fished there [restricted areas] for the past two weeks … we would have in the offing already probably doubled the landings that we have at this span, which would have meant the fishery would have finished earlier and the ambushes would have been taken out of the water earlier,” he said.

As details stand, Hache said there’s an increased likelihood of the whales appearing when many pots will still be in the water. That would think the risk.

“They [DFO] are creating a trap for the whales that are coming in later on in the season with all the troop of traps that will still be in the water because we will not bear been able to fish quickly enough.”

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