PEI

Researchers finish examination of dead North Atlantic right whale

Researchers in Norway, P.E.I., have completed their examination of the third North Atlantic right whale found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent weeks. The findings have been submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Findings have been submitted to Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Researchers spent nine hours examining the whale on the shores of Norway, P.E.I. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

Researchers in Norway, P.E.I., have completed their examination of the third North Atlantic right whale found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in recent weeks.

The findings have been submitted to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, but not yet made public. 

Six North Atlantic right whales have been discovered dead in Canadian waters this month. 

This is not a sustainable level of mortality for this species.- Megan Jones, Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative

It took a team of about 25 people from the Marine Animal Response Society, DFO and the Atlantic Veterinary College nine hours on Friday to complete the latest necropsy. 

Megan Jones of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative participated in the necropsy. 

"By the end of the day yesterday we had been able to examine the entire outside and inside of the whale," said Jones.

She said the process went quickly and efficiently due to the large number of people helping.

The whale, known as Comet, was believed to be about 33 years old. Researchers said he was an "old favourite" and a grandfather. 

Comet, the third dead North Atlantic right whale found this month, is pictured in the Bay of Fundy on Sept. 13, 2009. (Moira Brown/Anderson Cabot Center at the New England Aquarium)

Researchers have also completed the necropsy on the first two whales found earlier this month.

One of the reports came back inconclusive. The other found results compatible with that of a vessel strike.

On Thursday, Transport Canada implemented speed restrictions in two shipping lanes in the western Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Megan Jones of the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative participated in the necropsy. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

'Stop this from happening'

Jones said she is hopeful her work will help stop the whales from dying. There are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales left. 

"This is not a sustainable level of mortality for this species," said Jones. 

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