6th dead right whale likely struck by vessel, says DFO


June 2, 2019

Preliminary results of necroposy show North Atlantic right whale suffered blunt force trauma

A sixth North Atlantic right whale found floating dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence suffered a blunt force trauma consistent with being struck by a vessel, according to preliminary results of a necropsy.

The necropsy on the whale, known as Clipper, was completed at Grand Étang, Que., the Department of Fisheries and Oceans said in a statement Tuesday. 

The whale was the sixth North Atlantic right whale found dead in Canadian waters this year and the fourth found in a 48-hour period last week.

Last week Transport Canada implemented interim speed restrictions in the gulf to try to protect the endangered whales. Speed has been limited to 10 knots for vessels 20 metres or longer going through two designated shipping lanes north and south of Anticosti Island.

Fisheries and Oceans said more results will be available in the coming months, and the whale carcass has been sent to a landfill site in the Gaspé for burial.

Search continues for entangled whale

In the same statement, the department said an entangled right whale spotted on Saturday has not been seen since.

"The state of the whale and the length of time it has been entangled is unknown at this time."

The whale was last seen off the coast of Miscou Island in northeastern New Brunswick.

Aerial surveillance aimed at finding the whale continued Tuesday, and officials from Fisheries and Oceans and the Campobello Whale Rescue Team were on standby to respond, the department said.

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