North Atlantic right whales are now considered one step away from complete eradication.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature is moving the whales from “endangered” to “critically endangered” on its red list of global species facing threats to their survival.
The only step beyond “critically endangered” is extinction.
Fewer than 250 mature whales were known to exist at the end of 2018, in a total population of only about 400.
More than 30 whales have been killed by ships or fishing gear entanglements in the last three years, two-thirds of them in Canadian waters.
The conservation group classified right whales as endangered in 2008, and since then the population has declined more than 15 per cent.