Researcher Claims Efforts To Protect Endangered North Atlantic Right Whales Are Working

Source: CBC News/Carolyn Ray 

Photo: Moira Brown/New England Aquarium

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The Canadian government’s dramatic efforts to save the North Atlantic right whale have upset fishermen, but one researcher says they’ve made a difference in protecting the animals.

There have been no reported deaths or entanglements this year.

The federal government will announce an update on the status of the endangered species later today, but Kim Davies says the management efforts are paying off so far.

By this time last year, six whales had died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and there were several reports of entanglements.

It’s encouraging news for the population, which is estimated at 450. Of those, there are just 100 breeding females remaining.

“There’s no doubt that closing the fishing areas did reduce the risk of entanglement significantly,” Davies told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet.

Fishermen protest

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced a number of measures in the Gulf this year, including closing fisheries in waters off northern New Brunswick and slowing the speed limit for ships in the western Gulf of Maine.

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Photo: Moira Brown/New England Aquarium