Confirmed Right Whale Incidents in 2017

Over the course of June – September 2017,12 North Atlantic Right Whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Necropsies

October 5, 2017 – The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC) released a report titled “Incident Report: North Atlantic Right Whale Mortality Event in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, 2017,” which includes findings from necropsies performed this summer on six of the dead North Atlantic Right Whales. The CWHC report was prepared and released in partnership with the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) following an unprecedented number of North Atlantic Right Whale mortalities this past summer.

The full report can be downloaded here: The Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative (CWHC)

Incident Discovered Analysis IDFootnote 1, sex, age (if known)
13 Sept 15, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – near Miscou Island
Necropsy: Sept 19, 2017 Miscou Island, New Brunswick Female, no ID
12 July 30, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – near River of Ponds
Samples taken (photographs, finger bones, tissue samples, measurements) on August 3, 2017 Female, no ID
11 July 27, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – in Cedar Cove

Samples taken (photographs, finger bones, measurements) on July 30, 2017

*Same whale as incident #5*
"3512"
Female, 12 years
10 July 27, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – near Cape Ray
Samples taken (photographs, finger bones, measurements) on July 30, 2017 Male, no ID
9 July 21, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – near Church Point
Samples taken (photographs, finger bones, tissue samples, measurements) on July 29, 2017 Male, no ID
8 July 19, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – northeast New Brunswick
Necropsy: July 21, 2017
Miscou Island, New Brunswick
“Peanut”
Male, 26 years
7 July 6, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – near Magdalen Islands
Necropsy: July 10, 2017
Magdalen Islands, Quebec
Male, no ID
6 June 23, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf
Necropsy: June 30, 2017
Norway, Prince Edward Island
“1207"
Male, at least 37 years
5 June 22, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf
Samples were taken at sea on June 22, 2017 "3512"
Female, 12 years
4 June 21, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf
Necropsy: July 1, 2017
Norway, Prince Edward Island
“Starboard”
Female, 11 years
3 June 18, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf

Necropsy: July 9, 2017 Magdalen Islands, Quebec

Samples were also taken at sea on June 22 2017 date.

“Panama”
Male, at least 17 years
2 June 19, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf
Necropsy: June 29, 2017
Norway, Prince Edward Island
“Glacier”
Male, 33 years
1 June 7, 2017
Gulf of St. Lawrence – south-central area of Gulf
None “3746”
Male, 10 years

NOAA’s Unusual Mortality Event

Since North Atlantic right whales are a critically endangered species, with whales migrating in the North Atlantic including U.S. and Canada, NOAA has determined that the current 2017 mortality event has reached a threshold where it now fits the criteria for designating an Unusual Mortality Event (UME) under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. An Unusual Mortality Event allows the U.S. to investigate a significant die-off of any marine mammal population. Investigating and understanding unusual mortality events in marine mammals is important because they can serve as indicators of ocean health, giving insight into larger environmental issues, which may also have implications for human health and welfare.

From June to September 2017, 12 right whales died unexpectedly in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Report dead or distressed marine mammals

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