Latest efforts fail to remove fishing gear from two endangered right whales

A North Atlantic right whale found dead last week in the Gulf of St. Lawrence has been brought to shore on western Cape Breton for a necropsy. The 40-year-old female whale named Punctuation, was towed late Monday, June 24, 2019 to Petit Etang, N.S. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, DFO/Fisheries and Oceans Canada)

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the most recent efforts to disentangle a pair of endangered North Atlantic right whales from fishing gear were unsuccessful.

The department said Tuesday in an email members of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team searched for a five-year-old male whale that was recently spotted entangled in gear but were unable to locate the animal.

The group said last week the first entangled North Atlantic right whale reported in Canadian waters since 2019 appeared badly injured.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says another entangled whale, named Snow Cone, was spotted over the weekend but the team was unable to track the animal.

The department says efforts will continue to locate both whales and to attempt to disentangle them from fishing gear if possible.

Since June 2017, an unusually large number of the whales have died, reducing the population to fewer than 400 animals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021.