Lobster Fishing Area 23 C temporary closure due to right whale sighting


May 23, 2024

Ottawa, Ontario - On May 17, 2024, an endangered North Atlantic right whale was spotted in shallow waters approximately 3 to 4 kilometers off the northeast coast of New Brunswick, east of Miscou Island. After the whale was detected, Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) instituted a 15-day temporary fishing area closure in Lobster Fishing Area (LFA) 23 C. The 15-day closure count begins on the day of the detection – in this case that would mean from May 17th to the 31st. Under this protocol, if a right whale is not detected again in the closed area, the area would re-open to fishing after day 15.

We fully acknowledge that a temporary area closure at the height of a fishing season is a significant blow to our coastal communities and has consequential impacts on fishermen in the region. We want to work with harvesters on how we can mitigate the impacts. Our adaptive measures for protecting North Atlantic right whales are challenging for harvesters, however it is important to note they are meant to prevent entanglements and help the species recover.

DFO gave advance notice that fisheries management measures for LFA 23 C would be implemented beginning at 5:00 PM on May 22, 2024. This advanced notice is intended to provide harvesters with ample time to retrieve their fishing gear. DFO has extended the time to remove their gear from 48 to 96 hours.

DFO is committed to the sustainability of Canada’s fisheries and illegal activity regarding a closed fishery, including buying lobster that originates from a closed fishery, is subject to enforcement. Harvesters and other stakeholders are essential to striking the right balance when it comes to protecting North Atlantic right whales.

We need to work together to prevent whale entanglements to ensure that Canada’s world-class seafood products continue to be recognized as sustainable. This will ensure that the seafood our harvesters fish continues to command high prices and open markets across the world. In order to help manage this situation I am urgently convening a meeting with industry reps on Thursday, May 23.


Jérémy Collard
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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