Peak of mortality in right whales: Canada and the United States investigate

News 26 August, 2017
  • Photo AFP


    Friday, 25 August, 2017 16:18

    Friday, 25 August, 2017 16:18

    Look at this article

    Concerned about a spike suspicious of mortality among right whales in the North Atlantic, off the coast of Canada and the United States, the authorities of these two countries have opened an investigation on this species already seriously threatened, it was learnt on Friday.

    Also known as right whales, or whales of Biscay, these gigantic mammals are among the species of cetaceans most threatened of disappearance. Gold 13 specimens have been found dead this year on a population of only about 450 to 500, according to experts of the u.s. Agency for oceanic and atmospheric (NOAA). Usually, only a 3.8 right whales, on average, are found dead in the waters of the usa and canada each year.

    The number of specimens found dead is “important”, said David Gouveia, the head of the program of monitoring of protected species for the branch Atlantic from NOAA, calling for an emergency response.

    “The recovery of the (population of) right whales is fragile and it is one of the most difficult challenges in the protection of animals, has-t-he said to journalists during a conference call. “Any factor that affects their ability to survive is important”, has he hammered.

    The whales are most likely dead by finding themselves caught in fishing nets or hit by ships, but the experts expect the results of the necropsies, in the next few weeks, to determine with certainty the causes and propose solutions.

    NOAA has, therefore, declared a situation of “mortality unusual” (UME), which is used to trigger an investigation and to release funds for the investigations.

    It focuses specifically on a series of dead whales detected from the June 7, 2017, with a first specimen found to the west of the island of Prince Edward island, in the gulf of St. Lawrence. In total, ten dead whales have been spotted in the waters of Canada, and two in the u.s. waters since that date. Previously, a calf death had been found in April in the bay american Cape Code.

    In the Face of this sinister series, the canadian government has ensured the beginning of August wanting to provide “all necessary resources” to protect the right whales. Since then, ships sailing in the gulf of St. Lawrence have been forced to halve their speed.