A dead North Atlantic right whale was spotted floating off the coast of Elberon, New Jersey, on Thursday, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. This is the first right whale found dead in U.S. waters in 2020.
An aerial survey team from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown found the carcass at 3 p.m. and confirmed that it was a right whale.
There are just about 400 North Atlantic right whales left in the world. No information was immediately available on cause of death.
Officials with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report they're currently working with the Marine Mammal Stranding Center (MMSC) to secure an area to perform a necropsy.
In 2019, just one carcass was found in U.S. waters. At least eight others were found off Canadian coasts.
The news comes just a week after new federal protections for right whales were delayed for the fourth time in two years.