And early deaths of these whales were up in 2017 — 18 died young, and already in 2018 a 10-year-old female was found dead on the coast of Virginia. She was of breeding age, and died because she got entangled in fishing equipment.
Most premature deaths are caused this way — an estimated 82 percent — when the whales become entangled in lobster fishing lines. When they can't get free, they starve. And if something isn't done soon, this kind of whale could be extinct by 2040.
But there is hope. In the past, regulations put in place to keep marine animals safe from ship collisions and preserve habitats have made a real difference in their survival.