06/26/2017 08:08 EDT | Updated 06/26/2017 08:13 EDT

6 Right Whales Found Dead In Gulf Of St. Lawrence

Experts say the string of deaths is "catastrophic" for the species.

MONCTON, N.B. — Marine mammal experts plan to meet today to discuss next steps as they try to figure out what caused the death of six North Atlantic right whales found floating in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Marc LeCouffe of the Fisheries Department says some of the whales have been tagged with satellite trackers, which could make it easier to find the drifting carcasses.

He says they could look at hauling one of the massive mammals to shore for a post-mortem examination, but are racing against time before they decompose too much.

Boston Globe via Getty Images
A right whale feeding off the shores of Duxbury Beach.

Aircraft and Canadian Coast Guard vessels are trying to track down the carcasses in the waters near the Magdalen Islands.

Experts say the string of deaths is "catastrophic" for the species and amounts to more than one per cent of the 500 North Atlantic right whales left on earth.

Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society says collecting biological samples will be critical to determining what caused the deaths and hopefully prevent further losses.