MONCTON, N.B. - Federal authorities are closing several fisheries in the Gulf of St. Lawrence because of the presence of North Atlantic right whales.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc says two of the severely endangered animals have been spotted off the coast of New Brunswick.

As a result, the government is shutting down the snow crab, toad crab, rock crab, lobster and whelk fisheries in five areas, or "grids."

The closures, which take effect Tuesday afternoon, will also affect parts of the winter flounder and Atlantic halibut fisheries.

The government says the closures will remain in effect "until further notice," and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans will notify the industry prior to reopening.

The notice comes just days after the first North Atlantic right whale of the season was spotted in waters off eastern Cape Breton Island.