Entangled right whale calf spotted in Gulf of St. Lawrence, DFO says

HALIFAX — Canadian officials say a North Atlantic right whale has been spotted entangled in fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says in a news release Monday that the whale was initially observed Saturday east of Miscou Island, N.B., and was later seen again by a survey flight that was jointly operated by the fisheries department and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Based on the aerial images, the news release says the New England Aquarium believes the animal to be a female calf, approximately one-and-a-half years old.

It says a tracking tag was successfully attached to the entangled fishing gear, which is meant to aid in efforts to disentangle the whale.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it does not yet know the type of gear that the whale is entangled in, nor where the gear came from.

The North Atlantic right whale is one of the most endangered large whale species in the world, with the U.S. officials saying there are about 360 whales in existence and that an estimated 85 per cent of right whales have been entangled in fishing gear at least once.

Canada's fisheries department said its Marine Mammal Response Program will continue to monitor the situation to determine response options and, pending weather conditions, disentanglement work may proceed in the coming days.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 24, 2024.

The Canadian Press