Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) shared the news that North Atlantic right whales have returned to the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Two whales were spotted between Quebec's Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Gaspé Peninsula on May 3. Their presence has led to a closure of surrounding fishing areas.

"North Atlantic right whales are officially back in Canadian waters," the DFO wrote on Facebook.

"Our 2020 fisheries measures are now in place to help protect these whales for the duration of their stay in Canada."

The whales migrate north for "rich supplies of their prey" after spending the winter near Florida.

They are distinguished by their "wide tail flukes and narrow tailstock, large flippers" and lack of dorsal fin.

They have black skin with "rough white patches of skin called callosities on their head, chin, and sometimes on the edge of their lower lips."

"Collisions with vessels, entanglement in fishing gear, and underwater noise are the most serious threats to the right whale population," the DFO explains.

That's why officials have developed a recovery strategy for the species.

"The Government of Canada is taking all necessary actions to help protect Canada's endangered whales," the DFO 2020 fishery management measures webpage states.

"The role of Canada in protecting North Atlantic right whales and promoting their recovery is crucial because a very high proportion of the extant population spends all or part of the summer and autumn months in Canadian waters," according to the text of the recovery strategy.

On its website, Fisheries and Oceans Canada maps definite sightings of the whales.

The department also encourages Canadians to do their part to protect the whales.

"Canadians can work together to reduce threats to the North Atlantic right whale."

"You can help by finding out more about right whales and being aware of threats posed by humans. You can help to reduce these threats wherever possible to better protect the right whale population."

Stay tuned for more news.


This article's cover image is used for illustrative purposes only.

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