Saturday, June 22, 2024

Dead North Atlantic Right Whale Spotted Off Canada


A partial carcass of a North Atlantic Right Whale was spotted off the Canadian coast earlier this month.

According to the Marine Animal Response Society:

“On May 12th, MARS received a call from a Transport Canada aerial surveillance plane of a partial whale carcass (only the lower half of an animal) that was spotted along the shelf break off Southwestern Nova Scotia, approximately 140km from shore.

“After reviewing the video, MARS determined the remains were of an endangered North Atlantic right whale. Experts in the US corroborated this identification.”

While MARS wanted to get to the whale’s location, the animal wasn’t found again by subsequent surveillance flights.

“Unfortunately, because of its advanced state of decomposition and that there was only limited imagery available, it is *NOT* possible to determine how, when or where the animal died, nor the animal’s individual identity.

“There are many possible reasons why a partial, very decomposed whale could appear in our offshore waters. If the animal reappears, we will do everything we can to gather additional data and samples.”

According to Gib Brogan, campaign director for Oceana in the United States:

“The North Atlantic right whale carcasses are adding up and possible extinction is getting closer. It’s deeply concerning to see yet another dead critically endangered North Atlantic right whale, this time off the shores of Nova Scotia. Unfortunately, due to its deteriorated state, scientists may not be able to conclusively determine the cause of death or the identity of this whale. But what is already proven is that far too many North Atlantic right whales are dying because of boat strikes and entanglement in fishing gear. The last population estimate released in 2023 said there are around 356 of these whales left on Earth, and we’ve watched many whales wash up on our shores since then. Each death is a devastating blow to their recovery. The U.S. and Canadian governments must act now to save North Atlantic right whales from extinction, while they still have the chance. Continued delays result in more whale deaths like this one and the potential extinction of an entire species. President Biden can and must approve the proposed updates to the U.S. vessel speed rules immediately, and stronger protections against entanglements must be enacted.”

While Oceana Canada’s Campaign Director Kim Elmslie added:

“The gruesome discovery of this latest North Atlantic right whale is another devastating loss to the species. This winter has been especially hard on the population with at least five calves and one juvenile whale dead or presumed dead and the first right whale sighted in Canadian waters having a severe entanglement.

“To save this population from extinction, it is imperative that the government implement permanent vessel slowdowns along the entire migration route of right whales. Additionally, transitioning swiftly to ropeless and on-demand fishing gear is crucial to reduce the risk of entanglements, while also preserving access to U.S. markets for Canadian fisheries. This is not the time to weaken any of the existing measures that are in place. With only 356 North Atlantic whales remaining the government must prioritize their protection before this species is lost forever.”

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.