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NOAA states endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction after another dies off the coast of Massachusetts



Photo courtesy of NOAA

In a recent update, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries have issued a warning.

The organization states that the endangered North Atlantic right whales are approaching extinction. An Unusual Mortality Event was declared for North Atlantic right whales in 2017, and currently includes 139 individuals (40 dead, 34 seriously injured, and 65 sub lethally injured or ill). The primary causes of the UME, according to the NOAA are entanglements in fishing gear and vessel strikes in both U.S. and Canadian waters, which are long-standing threats to the recovery of the species.

In the same warning, the NOAA issued an update believing that a right whale off the coast of Massachusetts is dead.

The calf of North Atlantic right whale “Skittle” (#3260) is presumed dead. Mom and calf were last seen together on March 12, 2024, off St. Simons Island, Georgia. On March 21, 2024, Skittle was seen without her calf on the calving grounds. She was spotted again without her calf in Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, on April 16, 2024. Young right whale calves depend on their mothers for nutrition, and may nurse for up to a year. Since researchers saw Skittle twice without her calf, the calf is presumed dead. Skittle’s first known calf, born in 2010, also likely died soon after it was born.

This calf is the fourth calf of the 2024 North Atlantic right whale calving season to be missing, and presumed dead. Others include the calves of right whale #1950right whale #3780 and right whale #1301 (Half Note). Additionally, the calf of right whale #1612 (Juno) died at only 4 months old from extensive injuries caused by a vessel strike. The NOAA stated that every mom and calf is critical to the recovery of this endangered species.

The North Atlantic right whale Road to Recovery details the NOAA’s efforts to address threats to the species and monitor recovery progress.   



  1. Johnson’s Johnson

    May 21, 2024 at 11:43 am

    “Fishing gear & vessel strikes”?? So it’s just a coincidence these pilot whale started turning up dead once the massive off shore wind start popping up?

    • Richard Hussong

      May 21, 2024 at 3:53 pm

      Not entirely a coincidence, since both are results of climate change. Warming ocean waters are forcing right whales to feed in waters where protections against collisions and entanglement are not currently in force. There is no evidence that whales have been harmed in any way by offshore wind projects.

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