Nova Scotia

Dead North Atlantic right whale found in U.S. waters

A dead North Atlantic right whale has been found off Long Island, N.Y. The badly decomposed carcass was discovered Monday afternoon and rediscovered Tuesday after going missing overnight.

Decomposed carcass discovered Monday afternoon

A North Atlantic right whale has been found dead off Long Island, N.Y. (New York Department of Environmental Conservation)

U.S. authorities have rediscovered a dead North Atlantic right whale off Long Island, N.Y.

The badly decomposed carcass was discovered Monday afternoon near Fire Island Inlet and it was confirmed to be one of the critically endangered species several hours later.

U.S. authorities lost track of the whale overnight.

A subsequent search carried out by the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society (AMSEAS) and the New York Department of Environmental Conservation found the whale eight kilometres off Jones Beach, Long Island.

The age and gender of the right whale aren't yet known. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

Jennifer Goebel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said a necropsy team, led by AMSEAS and including scientists from the International Fund for Animal Welfare and the Center for Coastal Studies, will gather data and samples from the whale to get as much information as possible.

"We do not yet have any information on gender, age, or any possible causes of death," Goebel said in a statement.

She said there were no reports of fishing gear on the carcass. It was the first right whale death observed in U.S. waters this year.

Scientists estimate there are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales left in existence with fewer than 100 breeding females.

The U.S. declared an "unusual mortality event" in 2017 after 17 dead right whales were found in Canadian and American waters.

The vast majority were discovered in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Canada imposed a number of measures to protect the whales, including fishery closures and shipping lane speed limits in the area.

In 2018, there were no reported fatalities in Canada.

But that proved to be a one-year reprieve. Eight of the whales have been found dead in Canadian waters this year.