On Friday, Fisheries and Oceans Canada have confirmed that two more North Atlantic Right Whales were discovered dead in Canadian waters this week, bringing the total whale deaths up to eight since the start of 2019. With this disheartening news, it is confirmed that only 400 of the endangered species are left in oceans around the world. With the increase in whale deaths since the beginning of the year, multiple actions are now being put in place 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. Since then, the death toll has taken a sombre turn.
According to Fisheries Canada, two whales were spotted dead in the water this week. One was seen in the Gulf of St. Lawerence, while the other was spotted off Glace Bay, Nova Scotia. This brings the total amount of North Atlantic Whale deaths in Canada up to eight for the year of 2019.
A necropsy on one of the whales will take place on Sunday in attempts to determine the cause of death.
While the cause of death is still unknown for these two new whales, Fisheries and Ocean Canada states that some preliminary findings from a necroscopy of one of the prior whales revealed that its death was caused by a sharp trauma from a vessel strike.
According to CBC, fishing gear has also been identified as a leading cause of deaths in North Atlantic right whales in recent years.
Just this month, a rescue team in New Brunswick freed North Atlantic right whales that were trapped in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawerence.
Since the increase in deaths, Transport Canada released a new speed restriction in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and in Anticosti Island. Already in place, boats are forced to abide by the speed restrictions of 10 knots.
A Canadian man is also working on the creation of ropeless fishing gear that allows traps to be dropped and rise from the ocean floor without the need of a rope, but instead the use of radio signals.
This will allow for fewer whales and fish to be trapped in ropes and netting in our oceans. This project is currently still underway.