ELBERON, N.J.— NOAA Fisheries released preliminary results Monday from a necropsy performed on a dead North Atlantic right whale calf that was reported June 25 floating off New Jersey.
The male right whale calf “had evidence of at least two separate vessel collisions,” a statement on the NOAA Fisheries website reads.
“The whale had several propeller wounds across the head and chest, and a likely skeg or rudder injury on the back that may have occurred at the same time. Based on observed evidence of healing, those wounds were likely several weeks old, but were serious enough that they may have significantly impaired the whale.
“The second vessel collision resulted in a series of propeller wounds and a skeg or rudder wound across the tail stock. Evaluation of these wounds suggests they were inflicted shortly before the animal died and were likely the cause of death.”
“The loss of every right whale is a detriment to this critically endangered species, but it is particularly hard when we lose a calf, given how few have been born in the last several years,” said Kim Damon-Randall, deputy regional administrator for the Greater Atlantic Region. “We are committed to continuing to work with our partners both in the United States and Canada to reduce threats to North Atlantic right whales in order to recover the species.”