**Updated** Fisheries officers looking into 300 traps off N.B. in areas closed due to whales

**Updated at 6:15 a.m. on July 7th, 2018**

Federal officials are investigating 300 lobster traps in waters off northeastern New Brunswick, as they continue enforcing no-fishing rules aimed at protecting endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Officials with the federal Fisheries and Transport departments today praised the overall compliance of the lobster fishery after strict new rules came into force this year to reduce the threat of fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes.

Darren Goetze, director of conservation and protection for Fisheries, says that even though there are normally "tens of thousands" of traps set in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, up until recently his officers have only had to remove about 30 to 40 traps placed in zones closed due to the presence of whales.

The department says the 300 traps are not related specifically to Right whales managament measures, but rather consist of traps left in the the water following the end of fishing seasons, in an area not affected by closures for Rights whales. 

Goetze says the department is taking steps to remove the gear.

During today's briefing, the officials also confirmed there have been no reported deaths of the endangered mammals this season, with the bulk of the lobster and crab fishing season now over.

Jean Landry, director of marine mammal science for Fisheries, says aerial surveillance has so far detected 111 whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.