Search underway for entangled North Atlantic right whale spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence
Endangered whale, spotted east of Gaspé, identified as 14-year-old female 'Sundog'
A search is underway for an endangered North Atlantic right whale that was spotted entangled in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, east of Gaspé, Que., on Thursday, says Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The whale has been identified as a 14-year-old female, known as Sundog (EG 3823), according to a news release issued Friday.
Marine mammal response partners are on standby.
"If the whale is located, and weather and sea conditions allow, efforts may be made in the coming days to attempt disentanglement," the release states.
"We do not yet know the type of gear that the whale is entangled in or where the gear came from."
The whale was last seen on March 11, near Cape Cod, Mass.
Researchers estimate only 336 North Atlantic right whales are left in the world.
Fifteen calves were observed in the 2022 calving season in U.S. waters.
The first North Atlantic right whale of the 2022 migration season was spotted in Canadian waters on May 3, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, north of the Magdalen Islands.
The sighting triggered a 15-day fishing closure in specific fishing grids in the southern gulf.
The closure protocol for the gulf, Bay of Fundy, and "critical habitat areas" is among the vessel and fishery measures announced by the federal government in March to protect the endangered whales from ship strikes and entanglements as they migrate into Canadian waters this year.
There are also speed restrictions for vessels over 13 metres long, throughout much of the Gulf.