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Canada  

First right whale of season

The first North Atlantic right whale of the season has been spotted in waters off eastern Cape Breton amid concerns from fishermen that measures meant to protect the endangered mammals have led to increased fishing activity and greater risk.

Fisheries officials said late Tuesday that one of their surveillance flights had reported a right whale sighting in Canadian waters after it likely transited from wintering grounds off the U.S. seaboard.

"The whale was sighted swimming east of Cape Breton island," the department said in a news release.

"Based on the information DFO has at this time, there is no immediate plan to implement any temporary measures. At this time fishing will continue, but harvesters should be on alert."

Prior to the department's update, six associations representing the Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence Mid Shore Fleet, said statistics for the first 10 days of the fishery show the number of pots fished has increased by over 50 per cent compared to 2016, while the total catch landed is down slightly at 4,354 tonnes compared to 4,964 tonnes in 2016.



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