Saturday, May 25, 2024

Entangled North Atlantic Right Whale Spotted In Canadian Waters


Fisheries and Oceans Canada announced this week that an adult North Atlantic right whale was spotted over the weekend in the Gulf of St. Lawrence newly entangled with fishing gear around its mouth.

The critically endangered whale has been identified as Whale #EG4510, otherwise known as Shelagh, an adult female. This is Shelagh’s second known entanglement; her first was also in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in July 2017 off Miscou Island, New Brunswick. She was later disentangled by the late Joe Howlett and the crew of the research vessel Shelagh, according to ocean advocacy group Oceana.

The latest sighting has caused the Canadian government to shut down a portion of the Gulf of St. Lawrence to non-tended fishing for the next 15 days.

According to a Fisheries and Oceans Canada news release reported by the CBC:

“Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s marine mammal response program will continue to monitor the situation to determine response options with our partners. If the whale is located again, and weather and sea conditions allow, efforts will be made to attempt disentanglement.”

Kim Elmslie, campaign director at Oceana in Canada, called for a Canadian government rule that would only allow “ropeless” and “on-demand” fishing gear:

“Another female adult right whale is entangled in fishing gear, underscoring the urgent need for DFO to accelerate the transition to ropeless and on-demand fishing gear. This innovative technology can allow a thriving fishing industry to continue without putting critically endangered whales at risk of entanglement. With only 356 North Atlantic right whales remaining, each entanglement significantly impacts this already fragile population. A swift and well-supported transition to ropeless gear is a win-win and DFO must adopt this technology, before it’s too late.”

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.