Fisheries and Oceans Canada says its tweet stating a ninth North Atlantic right whale has been found dead “was premature.”
The number of right whales reported dead in Canadian waters this year remains at eight.
“The whale spotted yesterday may be one previously sighted and reported to the public and media. We will continue to keep you informed,” DFO tweeted Monday morning.
Earlier in the day, DFO had said a ninth North Atlantic whale was sighted on Sunday off eastern Cape Breton, and it would try to retrieve it and conduct a necropsy on Monday.
Two right whales were recently found dead in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Initial findings of a necropsy performed in Grand-Étang, Que., over the weekend show there is no evidence the whale was entangled in fishing gear.
More results will be released on Monday and a full report is expected within a month.
Whale carcass not located
The other whale found dead last month off Glace Bay, N.S., was identified as a right whale on Friday.
The carcass was spotted on June 24 by a fish harvester, but DFO was not able to confirm what it was until Friday.
That whale did not have a necropsy because its carcass has not been located.
Meanwhile, two five-year-old male whales, No. 4423 and 4440, were partially disentangled by rescuers in the Gulf of St. Lawrence last week.
Rescuers were able to partially remove fishing gear on No.4423 and cut the rope from No. 4440’s mouth and tail on July 17.
Ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear have been identified or suspected in the deaths of other North Atlantic right whales in recent years.
Earlier this month, Transport Canada announced additional measures to protect the endangered whales from fatal ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.