On June 7, veterinarians from the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Montreal conducted a necropsy in coordination with DFO and the Marine Animal Response Society in Miscou, NB. (Gabrielle Fahmy/CBC)

2 more dead right whales spotted in the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Officials with Fisheries and Oceans Canada say two more endangered North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

The whales were found near the Acadian Peninsula, New Brunswick and west of the Magdalen Islands, Quebec, officials said. These are the third and fourth confirmed dead North Atlantic right whales reported in Canadian waters this year.

The department said it is working closely with marine mammal experts on two necropsies to determine the cause of death of right whales found earlier this month in the gulf.

On June 7, veterinarians from the University of Prince Edward Island and the University of Montreal conducted a necropsy in coordination with DFO and the Marine Animal Response Society in Miscou, NB.

These experts reported that there was no evidence of recent fishing gear entanglement or recent vessel strike in their preliminary assessment, DFO said in a statement.

Further testing is ongoing to identify other potential causes of death.

A second necropsy is currently being conducted by the veterinarian team from the University of Prince Edward Island in Petit Étang, NS, of the dead whale reported on June 20.

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

“They’re basically going to dissect the whale from one end to the other and do a really close examination of every bit that they can,” said Isabelle Elliott, the marine mammal response co-ordinator for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans in the Gulf region.

“This whale is definitely a big one. She’s probably one of the bigger ones that we have, unfortunately, had the privilege to do a necropsy on in the last couple of years.”

Biologists have identified the whale as Punctuation, so named due to the scars on her head that look like dashes and commas.

Punctuation is seen with her calf swimming off the coast of Georgia in 2006. (New England Aquarium taken under NMFS/NOAA permit #655-1652-01)

Necropsies on the enormous animals take time and are highly demanding on everyone involved, officials said.

The team will first peel off the blubber and measure its depth to see if the whale was emaciated. Then, scientists will examine the muscle tissue and bones for signs of trauma. Finally, they’ll look at the organs and take samples for toxicology tests before the carcass is disposed of in a nearby quarry.

The vital information and findings from these necropsies on right whales are key for understanding the threats they face, and what could be done to better protect them and support their recovery, DFO officials said.

“Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to take all necessary actions to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale from further harm,” DFO officials said in a statement, adding that it’s a shared responsibility.

“We have been working closely with partners in Canada and the United States, coastal communities and industry partners to detect right whales and to implement robust management measures that mitigate risks to the species.”

This includes ongoing fishery closures in Atlantic Canada and Quebec for snow crab and lobster fisheries and all other non-tended fixed gear fisheries based on confirmed right whale sightings since April 28, 2019, officials said.

In 2017, 12 North American right whales were found dead in Canadian waters and five in U.S. waters.

The global population of North Atlantic right whales is estimated to be approximately 411 in 2018.

With files from Cassie Williams of CBC News

Categories: Environment
Tags: , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *