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Nature News
by Marlene Harris

November 2001   —   Right Whale Death

Another precious North Atlantic right whale was found dead early this month, washed up on a beach, off the coast of les Iles de la Madeleine, Quebec. The whale, completely entangled in green fishing net was an adult male which was identified by researchers from the New England Aquarium. Prior to its death, the whale had last been seen in July, off the coast of Cape Cod, in apparent good condition, i.e. no visible signs of netting.

On the heels of this tragedy, the Canadian Government stated it is considering introducing regulations forcing fishermen to use "whale friendly" nets and to adapt their behavior accordingly when in known whale areas.

This latest death brings to seven, the number of dead right whales found this year, a high number considering the total population is only about 300. Researchers in Florida reported that about 30 baby right whales were born earlier this year, but several had been killed due to collisions with ships, the major right whale killer aside from entanglement.

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