July 30, 2018
A North Atlantic right whale recently spotted off the Gaspé Peninsula has triggered the closure of another portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence for fishing.
Fisheries and Oceans ordered a portion of the gulf off Quebec closed as of 6 p.m. on Monday.
The closure was triggered by the sighting of at least one North Atlantic right whale, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said.
It means all fishing gear must be removed from the closed grid until further notice.
Steve Hachey, a spokesman for the department, said given the location of the grid, it's not expected to impact any New Brunswick fishermen.
A system of static and temporary closures was imposed this year after the deaths of at least 18 North Atlantic right whales in U.S. and Canadian waters last year. Twelve of the whales died off the Canadian coast.
The latest closure isn't expected to impact any members of the Maritime Fishermen's Union, Louis Ferguson, a resource management coordinator with the group, said.
Looking to next year
Ferguson said grid closures along the eastern shore of the Acadian Peninsula could affect about five rock crab fishing boats if they remain after the season gets underway.
He hopes the closure will be lifted before then.
If not, the fishermen will have to relocate their traps to areas where they're not used to fishing.
"Hopefully, we'll be able to start talking to DFO very soon to look for the next season — 2019 — about different measures or see where we can reduce the zones, or reduce the impact on the fisheries," he said.