Concern over loss of critically endangered whales

5th Aug 2017

A North Atlantic right whale carcass discovered in the Gulf of St Lawrence (Photo credit: Department of Fisheries & Oceans via

A spate of deaths of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales has conservationists and officials fearful of the damaging impact on the global population.

This summer has seen ten of the large cetaceans found dead in waters between Newfoundland and Quebec, which equates to 2% of the entire global population according to estimates.

The impact on the species population is expected to be severe, with only three calves known to have been born in 2017, according to the Canadian Whale Institute.

The BBC report that researcher Kim Davies has suggested is it "logical to assume" that some of these deaths could have been as a result of ship strike during an interview with national broadcaster CBC.

The issue of ship strike is one that ORCA have been working to prevent as a part of our partnership with Brittany Ferries, with an innovative pilot project currently take place in the Bay of Biscay.

“This type of tragic loss of one of the most endangered animals on the planet shows how critical it is to do everything we can to protect our marine spaces.” said Lucy Babey, ORCA’s Head of Science & Conservation.

“Our work on projects such as ShipStrike is intended to prevent exactly this type of loss of marine life and we, alongside other wonderful NGOs across the world, hope that government and industry will work with us to help address these threats.”

Find out more about our working protecting large whales for threats such as ship strike here.