Endangered right whale found dead off Myrtle Beach coast

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An aerial survey team from Center for Coastal Studies spotted an entangled right whale south of Nantucket on October 19, 2020. (Photo: NOAA, taken under Center for Coastal Studies permit)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (AP) — Officials say a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale has been found dead off the coast of South Carolina.

The National Marine Fisheries Service said in a news release Sunday the dead adult whale was spotted off the coast of Myrtle Beach.

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The agency says the same right whale had been entangled in ropes from fishing gear at least since October, when it was sighted swimming with fishing line extending from its mouth past its tail.

The whale was spotted again in February off Florida and a team of experts was dispatched, but was unable to free the ropes.

Fewer than 400 North Atlantic right whales are believed to survive.

The fisheries service says 34 right whales have been confirmed dead in the U.S. and Canada since 2017.