South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)

Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

A dead grey whale found floating between Point Roberts and White Rock, was towed to shore Sunday for a necropsy.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the male whale was first spotted floating in the Semiahmoo Bay area on April 15.

The DFO co-ordinated with the Canadian Coast Guard to tow the animal to the Sea Island Coast Guard base, located in Richmond, where a necropsy was to be conducted to determine the cause of death.

“The results of necropsies feed into a growing body of knowledge to assist in assessing the threats to whales from population health perspective,” DFO spokesperson Lara Sloan explained in an email to Peace Arch News. “This data allows us to look at trends, pathogens, or other indicators that may affect their life history.”

SEE ALSO: Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

The DFO acknowledged the efforts and collaboration from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, BC Ministry of Agriculture, veterinary pathologist Dr. Stephen Raverty and DFO staff and biologists.

White Rock Sea Tours and Whale Watching owner Andrew Newman alerted PAN about the dead whale Monday morning.

He said the deceased whale was first spotted about 10 miles south of Point Roberts, floating in Georgia Strait. It then washed towards Birch Point, before being found on the Canadian side of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday morning.

“They don’t know what killed it. They don’t know if it was a disease,” Newman said.

“Potential problems killing whales in the area, there was a disease last year, I believe. Vessel strikes are also a real possibility and people need to be aware, be whale-wise. If you see a blow, go slow.”



aaron.hinks@peacearchnews.com

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