Fisheries and Oceans Canada Continues to Investigate Recent Right Whale Deaths


MONCTON, NEW BRUNSWICK – Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is working with fishery officers, marine mammal scientists, veterinary pathologists, as well as marine animal response networks and organizations to determine what has caused the recent deaths of at least six rare North Atlantic Right whales in eastern Canada.

DFO is implementing a plan that includes towing carcasses to a secluded beach near Norway, Prince Edward Island (PEI), where necropsies will be conducted. These necropsies will help determine the cause of mortality which is still unknown at this time.

The province of PEI has helped DFO to identify a safe and secluded site to conduct the necropsies.

Two carcasses are currently being towed to the area, one of which will soon be brought to shore. There is a possibility of a third whale carcass being towed to the same area in the coming days. Heavy equipment will be used to haul the carcasses onto shore, where the necropsies will take place. The first necropsy will begin June 29 and the process could take several days to be completed. It could take several weeks or even months before results are known.

Conducting necropsies on right whales is a significant undertaking. DFO Science reached out to non-governmental organizations, academic and international experts to ensure that sampling will follow scientifically robust protocols. Experts from DFO, the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative-Atlantic Veterinary College, the Marine Animal Response Society, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Université de Montréal, the Marine Mammal Commission and the provincial government of British Columbia will take part in the necropsies. Other partners may also be included.

DFO asks that the public stay a safe distance from the necropsy site, as there will be heavy machinery at work and scientists must be allowed to do their important work without distraction.

DFO takes the protection, conservation and recovery of endangered species very seriously, and will continue to investigate the deaths of North Atlantic Right whales in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.


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Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Gulf Region


Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Maritimes Region


Laura Gareau
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

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