Deceased Whale Identified as 3-Year-Old Juvenile

Unnamed right whale Catalog #5120 seen healthy in the Gulf of St. Lawrence in July 2021, when she was a calf. CREDIT: Gina Lonati, University of New Brunswick. Taken under DFO Canada SARA permit.

MARTHA’S VINEYARD – New England Aquarium scientists have identified the deceased North Atlantic right whale that washed ashore on Martha’s Vineyard this week.

The 3-year-old female whale was cataloged in July of 2021 as a calf, though was never given a name. 

Photographic data and the whale’s markings were used to identify her. The whale is undergoing a necropsy this week to determine the exact cause of death.

“This case highlights the ongoing threat right whales and other whale species have been facing from fishing gear entanglements for decades. Prevention of these entanglements needs to be a priority that our society should support. Technological advances that would allow fishing without an endline in the water column—on-demand fishing gear—have come a long way, and implementation of on-demand gear broadly into fisheries is a critical step needed to save this species and to allow fishing to continue,” said Amy Knowlton, a senior scientist in the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium.

State law enforcement officials also collected rope that was entangled around and embedded in the whale’s tail and turned it over to NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement.

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the News Center in 2019.
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