Right Whale found
floating in Bay
DIGBY, N.S. - The
body of an endangered North Atlantic right whale has been found floating in
waters off the tip of southwestern Nova Scotia.
50-tonne whale, believed to be an adult female, was found about 40 kilometres
off Digby, N.S., in the Bay of Fundy on Saturday afternoon.
The cause of the whale's death was unknown, but the loss
is a serious setback for a species struggling to survive, said Jerry Conway,
marine mammals adviser for the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
There are an estimated 300 to 350 right whales left in
the world - only 60 of those are believed to be breeding females.
"It is a serious blow to the species," he said. "Every
lost female has a significant impact on the ability of that population to
withstand any downturn."
A local fishing dragger was
recovering the 13.5-metrelong carcass and taking it to shore in Digby, Mr.
A necropsy was scheduled for Sunday by
experts from the University of Prince Edward Island's Veterinary College.
Officials from the New England Aquarium and Woods Hole
Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts were also on site and taking part in
the investigation, he said.
"We have no idea what the
cause of death is," Mr. Conway said.
indications that this was a ship strike ... or that this was a gear
Right whales and humpbacks travel each
summer to the Bay of Fundy to dine on the area's rich supply of plankton.
Four whales were successfully freed this summer from
tangled fishing gear by trained volunteers in the Bay of Fundy, located between
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
Mr. Conway said it wasn't
clear if the whale was leaving the bay to spend the winter in warmer waters off
Florida and Georgia when it died.