Critically endangered whales found dead in Canada

Punctuation and calf #3981 off the coast of Georgia in March 2009

Punctuation and calf #3981 off the coast of Georgia in March 2009

Unfortunately, that number recently took another dip, because as the The Atlantic reports, six North Atlantic right whales were found dead in Canadian waters this month. "It was nothing compared to what's happened in the past three years [because] now there are hundreds of whales using that area".

Two dead right whales were found floating in the gulf on June 25, off the Acadian Peninsula in northeastern New Brunswick, including an 11-year-old female who was on the cusp of sexual maturity and had yet to give birth.

"They have reacted now, but it is something that needs to be in place at the beginning of every season".

"The whales are going to go to wherever the best food resources are".

Two years ago the federal government brought about a number of measures to protect the whales after 12 of them died in Canadian waters - mostly from collisions with boats or injuries caused by tangled fishing gear.

The cause of those deaths - when they could be determined - was either blunt force trauma from a suspected vessel strike or acute entanglement from fishing gear.

On Thursday, officials from Transport Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans announced new widespread speed limits in the shipping lanes around Anticosti Island in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to protect the endangered right whales.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says members of the Marine Animal Response Society, as well as veterinary pathologists from the Atlantic Veterinary College, will lead the necropsy.

She said the first whale was a nine-year-old male named Wolverine and necropsy results were inconclusive.

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The necropsy is being carried out in Norway, PEI. The fourth dead whale, No. 3815, was an unnamed young female born in 2008, who had not yet had a calf.

A bright spot, said Wimmer, is that unlike in 2017, there's not much of a debate whether to perform a necropsy.

"Protecting our endangered North Atlantic right whales is an important task, one that our government takes seriously". With the increase in whale deaths since the beginning of the year, both Fisheries and Oceans, as well as Transport Canada, are mandating new restrictions in attempts to keep these whales safe.

The deaths have prompted Minister of Transport Marc Garneau to introduce interim precautionary speed restrictions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence to 10 knots for vessels of 20 meters or more in length.

They include speed limits for larger vessels in designated areas and shipping lanes. "Working together we can and must be the generation that saves the right whale", said Ramage. "It worked last year, and it failed this year".

"The speed reduction now is good and hopefully it will prevent any more deaths", she said. That makes five dead whales discovered so far in 2019.

Patrick Ramage, the agency's director of marine conservation, said "fresh thinking and bold action" are urgently needed.

A North Atlantic right whale swims in the waters of Cape Cod Bay near Provincetown in the U.S. state of MA on April 13, 2019.

The second whale, found June 20, was a well-known female called Punctuation, for the comma and dashlike marks on her head.

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