June 30, 2019 1:12 pm

Early necropsy results suggest right whale died after colliding with boat

Officials started performing a necropsy on Comet, a 34-year-old male North Atlantic right whale in Norway, P.E.I. Friday

Callum Smith / Global News

Officials say a necropsy on the third of six North Atlantic right whales found dead this year suggests the 34-year-old mammal died after colliding with a boat.

The whale, known as Comet, was found drifting in the Gulf of St. Lawrence near New Brunswick’s Acadian Peninsula.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says Comet’s injuries were in line with blunt force trauma, “consistent with vessel strike.”

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READ MORE: 6th North Atlantic right whale found drifting off Canada’s coastline: DFO

Officials say more detailed results from the necropsy will be released in the coming months.

There are about 400 North Atlantic right whales left, with deaths outpacing live births.

Six of the endangered species have been found dead in 2019 – three of which were located in just the last week.

An animal autopsy on the sixth animal to be found dead – a female named Clipper – will be done Monday.

READ MORE: North Atlantic right whales are dying in Canada. Here’s what we know so far

In a bid to stem the number of right whale deaths, Transport Canada has implemented an interim speed restriction of 10 knots for vessels of 20 metres or longer in the western the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

© 2019 The Canadian Press

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