Authorities have closed a number of fisheries in the North Atlantic in response to two critically endangered North Atlantic right whales being sighted in the area.
The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered species on the planet, with the population estimated to be just 400 individuals, and they have been known to be particularly vulnerable to bycatch and ship strike in the Gulf of St Lawrence.
Pressure has been mounting on the Canadian government to take action to try and put better protections in place for the species, and recent months have seen significant restrictions on fishing activity and a mandatory speed limit in place to try and mitigate the impact of fishing on the last few members of the population.
A sighting of two individuals last week has prompted the suspension of snow crab, rock crab, toad crab, lobster and whelk fisheries in five grid areas off of the coast of New Brunswick, as reported on CTV News on Sunday.
The closure will be in place until further notice, and folllows other interventions including a speed limit in the Gulf of St Lawrence that ORCA surveyors experienced first hand during a Saga cruise to Canada in October.
During this trip, the captain called on the team to assist as observers to maximise the ships chance of spotting whales during the passage over the Gulf in order to give the ship advanced warning to minimise the risk of any collision.
The team were rewarded for their persistence and had an unforgettable sighting of one of the rarest animals on the planet, as well and helping one of our closest partners to go above and beyond in ensuring their impact on the species was minimised.