Dead whale discovered on the Acadian Peninsula 'likely' a minke
Fisheries and Oceans Canada still trying to identify the species, but say it's not an endangered right whale
A dead whale has washed up on the shores of Petit-Pokemouche Bay on the Acadian Peninsula.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials have not identified the species yet, but it is not an endangered North Atlantic right whale, spokesperson Steve Hachey told CBC News.
They believe it "is likely" a minke whale, but decomposition is complicating the identification process, he said. Further analysis is required, he said.
"Minke whales are not considered endangered, however DFO is concerned about the death of any whales in our waters," Hachey said in an email Tuesday afternoon.
Tina Casavant Robichaud, who discovered the carcass on Monday night, said the whale appears to have been injured.
"We can see marks," said Casavant Robichaud, who took several photographs and a video of the whale, which she posted on Facebook
In the United States, minkes are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Minkes are one of the whale species Fisheries and Oceans Canada's science branch is tracking through aerial surveys this summer, said Hachey.
Anyone who sees a dead or distressed minke or any other marine mammal is asked to contact MARS, the Marine Animal Response Society, immediately at 1-866-567-6277.
- 3 dead minke whales spotted off northern New Brunswick
- Longer lobster season in Campobello area worries whale-watching operators
- Fishermen versus North Atlantic right whales: Which group gets priority?
- DFO orders 'hard pill to swallow' for N.B. lobster fishermen, union says
At least three dead minke whales have been spotted floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence between the Gaspé Peninsula and northern tip of New Brunswick since early June, according to MARS.
The charitable organization dedicated to marine animal conservation has requested help to locate the carcasses so they can be hauled to shore and examined to determine the causes of death.
In January the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared the deaths of 28 minke whales over the past year along America's east coast an "unusual mortality event" and launched an investigation.
At least 18 North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in the past year and a half — 12 in Canadian waters and six off the coast of the United States.
Scientists believe human activity, including shipping and fishing, are the primary cause.
There are only about 450 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. Of those, only about 100 are breeding females.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada implemented several temporary fishing closures in parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence where whales have been spotted this season.
Transport Canada has also imposed speed restrictions in some areas to try to protect the whales.
With files from Gabrielle Fahmy and Radio-Canada