New Brunswick

2 more dead North Atlantic right whales found in Gulf of St. Lawrence

Two North Atlantic right whales were found floating dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Tuesday, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

2019 total rises to 4 confirmed deaths in Canadian waters

There only approximately 400 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. (Center for Coastal Studies/NOAA)

Two North Atlantic right whales were found floating dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Tuesday, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

That brings the total to four confirmed North Atlantic right whale deaths in Canadian waters this year.

"We are currently working with marine mammal response partners to identify next steps. More information will be provided as it becomes available," the federal agency said in a media statement Tuesday evening. 

The whales were discovered off the Acadian Peninsula in northeastern New Brunswick.

It's another blow to the endangered species. Only approximately 400 of the whales remain.

The latest confirmed deaths follow the June 19 discovery of a 38-year-old female and a nine-year-old male that was found June 4.

The female was one of only 100 reproductively active females left. 

The 38-year-old female, Punctuation, was towed to Cape Breton for examination on Tuesday. (Gary Mansfield/CBC)

"That hits the population even harder," Tonya Wimmer, executive director of the Marine Animal Response Society in Halifax, told CBC News on Monday.

The female was towed to Cape Breton for examination.

A team of 25 to 30, including biologists, veterinary pathologists and veterinary technicians, ​​​​​hopes Tuesday's necropsy will help shed light on how the large female died.

Preliminary necropsy results into the death of the young male were inconclusive. The full results won't be known for months.

Wolverine, a nine-year-old north Atlantic right whale, was the first whale death reported in 2019. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC)

No right whales were recorded dying in Canadian waters last year, but 12 were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in 2017.

Necropsies on seven of them found four died from trauma consistent with vessel collisions, while two deaths were the result of entanglement in fishing gear.

With files from Elizabeth Fraser


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