DFO officials have confirmed they have spotted another dead Right whale in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The carcass of the North Atlantic Right whale was located Friday morning in the Gulf of St. Lawrence (off Miscou Island) and this makes it the 11th confirmed death of a Right whale. Officials have said they will attempt to recover the carcass and perform a necropsy on the whale next week.
Officials haven’t been able to confirm if this whale is the same individual that was spotted entangled off the Gapsé Peninsula at the end of August. The entangled right whale originally sighted has not been seen since it was first reported on Monday Aug. 28. Flights and boats were sent out and were unable to relocate the whale.
North Atlantic right whales are among the world’s rarest marine mammals. Their numbers have dwindled continuously in the past decades, and just over 500 of them are now left in the world.
The year 2017 has proved to be a devastating year for this animal. This year, an “unprecedented” number of deaths of right whales have been reported off the coasts of the Canada and the US. At least thirteen North Atlantic right whales have died in the US and Canadian waters in 2017—a figure much higher than the yearly average of 3.8. Of these thirteen dead whales, 11 were found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while two other carcasses were recovered off the coast of New England.
Necropsies carried out on three dead whales found in the Gulf suggested that two of them had died following a collision with ships, while the third one died due to entanglement.