Right Whale Found Dead In Canadian Waters – Young Male Had Survived Past Ship Strikes And Entanglements

Source: CBC News/Gabrielle Fahmy

Photo: Moira Brown/New England Aquarium


The dead north Atlantic right whale drifting off Quebec’s Gaspé coast had a history of entanglements and was struck by a ship, said officials with the New England Aquarium.

The young whale was sighted Tuesday during an aerial surveillance flight by researchers from the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s first dead whale in Canadian waters in 2019.

After the massive death toll two years ago, strict regulations surrounding fishing and shipping in the gulf were put in place. There were no deaths in Canadian waters in 2018, and Ottawa has since eased the restrictions.

On Wednesday, all efforts were deployed to locate the whale’s body, with planes flying over the Gulf of Saint Lawrence all day.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada also has a vessel on standby, ready to go out if the whale’s body is found to place a satellite tag to track it. But the goal is to bring it to shore.

“At this point we don’t have any information on why this whale died,” said Tonya Wimmer, executive director of the Marine Animal Response Society in Halifax. “It’s why finding it and doing the necropsy is so important.”

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Photo: Moira Brown/New England Aquarium