The town of Trout River, N.L., is facing a ticking time bomb of noxious gasses as a massive whale carcass rots away on the town’s shoreline. But despite concerns that the body is filling with methane gas and could eventually burst, the tourist community could be alone in their fight.
The body of a blue whale washed up on shore over the weekend, believed to be one of nine endangered animals recently killed in a field of heavy ice off the coast of Newfoundland.
Residents may find the presence of the great beast somewhat interesting now, but the longer the body stays on the shoreline – a stone's throw from the boardwalk – the worse it will smell.
But regardless of that, and the threat of a sudden explosion, it appears the federal government is washing its hands of the situation, suggesting it is up to locals to remove the carcass. Or let nature take it course through the lengthy, odorous and potentially unhealthy process of decomposition.
Imagine having a 26-metre-long whale decompose upwind of your house? And you thought living near a Sriracha factory would be rough.
[ Related: Rotting whale's stench, bloating worry Trout River ]
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said it will likely be up to the local and provincial governments to find a way to dispose of the rotting blue whale carcasses, but (town manager Emily) Butler said the small town does not have the money or the resources to do so.
"The response we're getting is basically that, this is on the beach and we could naturally let it decompose here," Butler said.
In defence of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, whales are not actually fish and the carcass is no longer technically in the ocean. So it's out of their jurisdiction, right?
Except for that whole thing where the federal government exists to held handle issues too large for individuals or communities to manage on their own. Things like flood response or disaster assistance or house-sized dead mammals bursting with noxious gasses.
The solution, both satirically and literally, is to somehow drag the carcass back out to sea, call the coast guard and let the DFO decide what to do next.
Unless the Department of Mammals and Shorelines is willing to step in.
Want to know what news is brewing in Canada?
Follow @MRCoutts on Twitter.