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  • This image released 22 June 2001 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows an endangered North Atlantic right whale which is entangled off Cape Cod, Massachusetts

    This image released 22 June 2001 by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows an endangered North Atlantic right whale which is entangled off Cape Cod, Massachusetts | Photo: AFP

The North Atlantic right whale, which is much larger than a humpback or a gray whale, is on the critical list, only about 500 are left in the world.

The Canadian government says it will "bring all the resources necessary" to protect the endangered North Atlantic right whale, after 10 of the mammals died in the Gulf of St Lawrence over the past two months.

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Most of the 10 carcasses showed signs of being tangled in fishing nets or cables.

Canada do all it can "to ensure that every possible measure is in place" for both the protection and recovery of the species, said the Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc.

In July, authorities banned fishing in several parts of the Gulf of St Lawrence to protect them.

"We estimate maybe 80 to 100 right whales currently in the Gulf of St Lawrence. That's two or three times higher than any other previous year," LeBlanc told a news conference.

"So the phenomenon of seeing perhaps 200 or more right whales in the Gulf of St Lawrence in an area of high marine and shipping traffic, but also an area of extensive commercial fishery, is new."

The government is planning to increase the number of surveillance flights checking on the whales, and also to use acoustic equipment that would detect them miles before they reach the shore, allowing warnings to be issued to the fishing community.

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