Cold weather, ice could delay an early N.B. snow crab fishing season

Thick ice and cold weather are complicating a plan to help critically endangered North Atlantic right whales avoid ship strikes and entanglements during the snow crab fishing season.

Coast Guard ice-breakers  have been smashing through packs of ice off New Brunswick's northeast coast in an effort to get the snow crab season underway earlier and wrap up before the animals make their way into Canadian waters later this spring.

Mother Nature isn't helping the situation as the cold weather and strong winds have been pushing the shattered ice back to the area.

At least 18 North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in Canadian and U.S. waters since early last year.

(with files from CBC)