Saturday, July 13, 2024

Another Right Whale Calf Seen Entangled Off Canadian Coast


The Canadian government announced this week that another North Atlantic Right Whale calf had been spotted entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) reported an entangled, eighteen-month-old female calf of whale #1812 was spotted on June 22 located east of Miscou Island, New Brunswick by a survey team from Canadian Whale Institute (CWI), Campobello Whale Rescue Team (CWRT) and Équipe de Désempêtrement du Golfe (EDG).

A tracking buoy has been attached to the whale and DFO and other partners will continue to monitor the situation to determine response options and, if weather and sea conditions allow, efforts will be made to attempt disentanglement, according to Oceana. The origin of the gear has not been determined.

Oceana Canada’s Campaign Director Kim Elmslie said:

“Tragically, once entangled, all we can do is hope that conditions are right for an attempt to disentangle this young female calf. Preventing the entanglement from happening in the first place is our only other recourse. Too many whales are being lost to entanglements in fishing gear and ship strikes. Ropeless gear is the way to prevent entanglements. We are calling on DFO to expedite the release of their Whale Safe Gear Strategy so that all stakeholders can provide input and it can be implemented as soon as possible. Delaying action means another summer of whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence without a strategy to prevent entanglements.

“With only 356 North Atlantic right whales left, and about 70 breeding age females, this species is on the brink of extinction. These females and their calves are the future of the species. We don’t know yet the type of gear the whale is entangled with or the where the gear came from however, we do know that even minor entanglements can impair a female whale’s ability to breed and an alarming 86% of right whales bear scars from entanglement. Reducing the risk of entanglement is vital for preventing extinction.”

While Gib Brogan, campaign director for Oceana in the United States, added:

“The conservation crisis facing North Atlantic right whales continues with the horrifying news of this new calf being entangled early in its life. Unless the U.S. and Canadian governments take strong action to do what is needed to protect these whales from boats and ropes, more North Atlantic right whales will die and continue the slide to extinction. We know what we need to do to save the species. It is past time for effective on-the-water action, starting with President Biden publishing the updated Vessel Speed Rule.”

John Liang
John Liang
John Liang is the News Editor at He first got the diving bug while in High School in Cairo, Egypt, where he earned his PADI Open Water Diver certification in the Red Sea off the Sinai Peninsula. Since then, John has dived in a volcanic lake in Guatemala, among white-tipped sharks off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, and other places including a pool in Las Vegas helping to break the world record for the largest underwater press conference.