Tough Year for Right Whales

The North Atlantic Right Whale | Photo posted by Lauren Packard (Source: NOAA),

It’s been a tough year for North Atlantic right whales.

While the right whale population has battled back in recent years, the number of right whale deaths this year have been a setback for the species, according to an article on

Late in October, according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare, the badly decomposed carcass of a right whale was found ashore on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It was the 16th of the highly endangered species known to have died in U.S. or Canadian waters in 2017.

Starting in the early spring and continuing through the late summer months, a dozen dead right whales were found floating in Canada’s Gulf of St. Lawrence. Those deaths account for nearly 3 percent of the total population of right whales in the western North Atlantic.

Canadian fisheries authorities also reported four confirmed live right whale entanglements in fishing gear. In two of those entanglements, the whales were free.

In U.S. waters this year, at least one right whale died from a ship strike and, in addition to the whale that washed ashore in October, two other carcasses were spotted in the Gulf of Maine this year.

Read about 2017 being a difficult year for the right whale population.