HALIFAX — Fisheries officials say they have spotted the first North Atlantic right whale of the year in Canadian waters.
In a social media post, the federal Fisheries Department says the endangered whale was reported by one of its flights off the coast of eastern Cape Breton.
The arrival from U.S. waters comes after the department issued new regulations to lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick last month in response to the deaths of 18 North Atlantic right whales last year.
Many of those deaths were caused by ship strikes or entanglements in fishing gear, leaving only about 450 of the whales left.
The measures include closing areas off New Brunswick to lobster fishermen, reducing the amount of rope floating on the water and a requirement to report all lost fishing gear.
A static closure will be enforced along New Brunswick's northern coast, where 90 per cent of right whales were observed over the summer.
The Canadian Press
ALERT ⚠️: The first right whale in Canadian waters this year has been reported. One of our C&P flights found a right whale swimming near eastern Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. https://t.co/7iXVk438ik #RightWhales pic.twitter.com/Ar7NsJZwhn— Fisheries and Oceans (@FishOceansCAN) May 15, 2018