New Brunswick

Dead right whale doesn't appear to have been entangled in fishing gear

A team of about 20 scientists, veterinarians and volunteers are in Grand-Étang, Que., performing a necropsy to find out how a male Atlantic right whale died. It's the seventh of eight whales found dead this year.

Necropsy underway on the body of a North Atlantic right whale found dead last week

A necropsy on the seventh right whale to die in Canadian waters in 2019 is being performed in Grand-Étang, Que. (Isabelle Damphousse/Radio-Canada)

There is no evidence a North Atlantic right whale found dead last Thursday was entangled in fishing gear, according to initial findings.

More results of a necropsy taking place today in Grand-Étang, Que., will be released Monday, and a full report is expected in a month.

 A team of about 20 scientists, veterinarians and volunteers spent Sunday looking into the whale's cause of death, said Stéphane Boulay, with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The male whale was the seventh of eight found dead this year. 

The body of a male right whale was spotted drifting off Magdalen Islands on Thursday. (Isabelle Damphousse/Radio-Canada)

The body of the male right whale was spotted drifting west of Magdalen Islands on Thursday during an aerial surveillance flight. It was relocated again on Friday by the CCGS A. LeBlanc and towed to shore Saturday by the Canadian Coast Guard.

Much of the whale's skin has sloughed off, making it difficult to identify which male it is, said Boulay. 

Once the necropsy is complete, the whale carcass will be brought a landfill in Gaspé, Que., where it will be buried. 

Only about 400 North Atlantic right whales remain.


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