The Department of Fisheries and Oceans has closed a fishing area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after right whales were spotted. Fishers will have to remove their fishing gear in that area, and they have until 26 June, 3 p.m. to do so.
The latest closure extends the area where fishing is forbidden deep into the middle of the Gulf, farther east.
The Fishers Almost Reached Their Quota
Carl Allen, the president of the Maritime Fishermen Union, stated that the closure of the area would not affect fishing, because much of the quota has been reached:
“When you look at the location and where it is, it’s out on the snow crab grounds and it’s not of a huge concern at this point of the game because I think, at this point, we’re over 90 per cent of the quota is caught.”
He added that a few individual fishermen have even reached their quota and finished fishing:
“It’s not of huge consequence considering the location of where it’s at and the timing of it.”
However, Allen explains that the “complex protocols” that come with closure orders are more difficult to cope with:
“Every time we get an email with notice to harvesters, alerting us to another closure, it’s like those few seconds that it takes to load the map up to see where the closure is, are like the longest few seconds in your life some days.”
In the last month, there have been other six closure in northern New Brunswick’s waters, forcing many crab fishermen and lobster fishermen to move to other areas.
On June 18, the Bay of Fundy had to close a fishing area after a right whale sighting.
Until further notice from the officials, all the closures will remain in effect.
The closure of fisheries is part of the measures taken by the DFO to save North Atlantic right whales. There are only 450 North Atlantic right whales, out of which only 100 are breeding females.
Other rules to help save the species are to have ships slow down in some areas.
Andre Blair s is the lead editor for Advocator.ca. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Andre specializes in environmental health, but writes on a variety of issues.