An endangered right whale was disentangled from lobster gear tied to Canada's largest lobster fishery.

An investigation by US officials and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) has determined the gear was from Lobster Fishing Area 33 in southern Nova Scotia, reported CBC News Canada on Monday.

LFA 33 license holders had landings of nearly 15.4 million pounds of lobster in the 2021-22, and along with LFA 34, generated a landed value of approximately CAD 605.5 million ($445.6 million/€431.4 million).

According to DFO, it is the first entanglement connected to Canada's lobster fishery in five years.

The DFO said the circumstances of the entanglement and how the gear travelled so far is being investigated.

Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada, told IntraFish the finding does not affect the current fishing season for LFA 33.

"The DFO is specifically looking at measures we’ve been implementing to try to avoid this happening," said Irvine, who added the gear was reported lost in December.

"To try to avoid this happening, maybe we need to increase surveillance. We don’t expect to see whales there that time of year."

Canada currently holds Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for its Maritimes Canada inshore lobster fishery, which includes LFA 33.

The MSC has not responded to IntraFish when asked how this incident could impact the fishery's certificate.

The US lobster industry in Maine is at the center of an ongoing debate over its impact on endangered North Atlantic right whales.

In recent months, the dispute has led to the seafood delicacy being demoted to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's red, or Avoid, list and the revocation of the fishery's MSC certification.

The Gulf of Maine lobster fishery said in early February that it is now abandoning any plans to regain its MSC eco-label.

But unlike in the United States, some of Canada’s lobster fisheries continue to maintain their third-party MSC certification, including LFA 33, despite there being deaths in recent years related to right whale entanglements in Atlantic Canada where major lobster and crab fisheries are based.

The North Atlantic Right Whale was officially listed endangered under Canada's Species at Risk Act (SARA) in 2005, with Canada's government estimating there are only 336 remaining globally. It is considered one of the world's most endangered large whale species.

It is also listed as endangered under the US Endangered Species Act.

In the spring, summer, and into fall, these whales can be found in waters off New England and further north in Canadian waters, where they feed and mate, according to NOAA.