July 19, 2019 4:00 pm
Updated: July 19, 2019 9:04 pm

2 more dead endangered right whales spotted, bringing total to 8 this year

WATCH: About 10 per cent of fixed fishing gear is lost each year and the design of the gear is leading to some right whales becoming entangled. One innovative company is trying to fix this. Callum Smith has more.

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Two more North Atlantic right whales have been found dead in Canadian waters, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), bringing the total number of deaths to eight.

DFO confirmed the deaths in a press release Friday afternoon, stating that the whales were observed drifting west of the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as well as off the coast of Glace Bay.

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READ MORE: Rescuers make slow progress on freeing entangled North Atlantic right whales

DFO says the whale seen near Glace Bay was originally reported on June 24, 2019 by a fish harvester, but DFO vessels were “not successful in relocating the reported dead whale at the time to confirm its identity.”

The whales have not yet been individually identified and the exact date, location and cause of death is currently unknown.

“The Government of Canada takes this issue very seriously,” DFO said in the release, “and we understand its importance.

“That’s why we recently announced additional measures to protect North Atlantic right whales, including adjusting the trigger for fishery closures so that if one or more right whale is observed anywhere in the Gulf ot St. Lawrence …. the area of sighting will close for 15 days for non-tended fixed-gear fisheries.”

WATCH: Economic impact of North Atlantic right whale deaths

The first whale confirmed dead this year was spotted on June 4. Necropsies have shown that three of the recent deaths were due to vessel strikes.

Efforts remain underway to free three right whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence that have become entangled.

READ MORE: One of three North Atlantic right whales entangled off N.B. may be on its way to freedom

There are only around 400 of the whales remaining.

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