Late Wednesday evening, Fisheries and Oceans Canada confirmed that a fifth North Atlantic right whale has died in Canadian waters since the start of 2019. Since the disheartening news has been announced, Canadians are devastated with the loss of yet another endangered right whale. 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.
Back in February 2019, Fisheries and Oceans celebrated that no North Atlantic right whales had died in Canadian waters throughout 2018. Sadly, the year of 2019 hasn't reached the same accomplishment. According to Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the fifth dead whale of 2019 was discovered washed up on the shores of Anticosti Island, Quebec on Wednesday.
Only a few days prior, on June 25, another two right whales were found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawerence, meaning that three right whales have been found dead in Canadian waters this week alone.
While the cause of death is still unknown for the fifth whale, Fisheries and Oceans Canada stated that some preliminary findings from a necroscopy of one of the prior whales showcase that its death was caused by a sharp trauma that is consistent with a vessel strike.
Of course, as the number of deaths continues to rise throughout Canadian waters, Canadians are sharing their sorrow in the tragic events. Many Canadians are devastated to discover that so many of these endangered species are dying in our waters.
According to CBC News, it is estimated that there are only 413 North Atlantic right whales left in the entire world.
Since the latest incident has occurred, Transport Canada announced on Wednesday that in order to keep the right whales safe in Canadian waters, they are implementing a speed restriction in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in Anticosti Island.
Effective immediately, vessels will now be forced to abide by the speed restrictions of 10 knots. Canadian Coast Gaurd's Marine Communications and Traffic Services will be monitoring the waters and any vessel that does not comply with this new restriction can face a penalty of up to $25,000.
The Canadian government has also taken steps to help protect the right whales through their $1.5 billion investment in the Ocean Protection Plan. In the Transport Canada press release, they stated that "protecting our endangered North Atlantic right whales in an important task, one that our government takes seriously."