VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Federal authorities say an endangered whale found dead off the coast of Virginia may have died due to entanglement in fishing gear.
The North Atlantic right whale was found dead off the coast near North Carolina on Jan. 22. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement is investigating the death.
NOAA officials say a necropsy was performed on Jan. 28. The whale was identified as a juvenile female about 10 years old.
The necropsy itself will likely take several weeks. However, NOAA says a preliminary observation suggests entanglement was the cause of death. The agency says the whale appears to have been wrapped in line in a way that suggests it was alive and swimming when it became entangled.
Right whales suffered heavy mortality last year.