Save America’s Wildlife

Juvenile right whale found with fishing gear entanglement

With low birth rates and fewer than 70 reproducing females, the likely death of this young female whale hits the species especially hard. 

NOAA library | Public Domain
A right whale fluke

On January 8, another endangered right whale was found with serious fishing gear entanglements. An aerial survey team from the Clearwater Marine Aquarium spotted the juvenile whale off the coast of North Carolina with fishing line wrapped around her mouth and tail. 

Aerial images show her with deep cuts as a result of the entanglement. The four year old whale is the daughter of “Spindle,” who was recently seen off the Georgia coast. Experts say the four year old female will likely die due to the serious injury sustained, which would make this the 94th documented right whale death during the species’ ongoing unusual mortality event

With low birth rates and fewer than 70 reproducing females remaining, the potential death of this young female right whale hits the species especially hard. 

We’re pulling for his whale to make it despite the steep odds against her. In the meantime, we’ll continue our work to protect right whales, which includes closing ocean areas to fishing practices that use vertical ropes, supporting new funding for ropeless fishing gear, and transitioning the market to ropeless (sometimes called “on-demand”) fishing

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