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U.S. senators call for review of Canadian protections of endangered right whales

In this March 28, 2018 file photo, the baleen is visible as a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass.
In this March 28, 2018 file photo, the baleen is visible as a North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Michael Dwyer

Two U.S. senators from Massachusetts, including presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, are calling for an investigation of Canada’s regulatory measures to protect the North Atlantic right whale.

Democrat senators Edward Markey and Warren sent a letter this week to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration arguing Canadian rules for protecting the endangered whales are less strict than those in the United States.

READ MORE: Right whale’s death likely caused by entanglement in Canadian fishing gear

Their request notes New England lobster fishermen are currently responding to a federal plan that reduces the amount of rope in the water and requires lines that break more easily.

A necropsy of a male right whale discovered off Long Island, N.Y., on Sept. 16 concluded it likely died due to entanglement in trap lines.

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The whale was last spotted in late August in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and was entangled in lines at that time.

READ MORE: Scientists await necropsy results on right whale found in U.S. waters

As of Nov. 3, eight right whales were known to have died in Canadian waters this year out of an endangered population numbering about 400 animals.

The senators say if Canada’s rules are shown to be less stringent than those in the United States, then the U.S. government should consider restricting imports of Canadian fishery products.

The Canadian Press first published this story on Nov. 15, 2019.