Experts hoping for more measures to prevent further right whale deaths

MONCTON, N.B. — Marine mammal experts are hoping the federal Fisheries minister will take immediate steps to prevent further deaths of endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is holding a briefing this morning in Moncton, N.B., to address the deaths that have been occurring in the Gulf of St. Lawrence since early June.

It comes after another whale carcass was found this week on Newfoundland’s west coast — making it the 10th right whale to be found dead in the region in recent weeks.

Fisheries has said the number of right whale deaths is concerning considering there is an estimated population of about 500.

Jerry Conway of the Canadian Whale Institute says there is an urgency to the situation that has had “catastrophic ramifications on the right whale population,” particularly since they know of only three calves born this year.

The department has taken some steps to prevent further deaths, including shortening the snow crab season, asking fishermen in the gulf to report any whale sightings and requesting that mariners reduce their speed along the Laurentian channel.

Collisions with ships and fishing gear entanglements are major threats for the whales.

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