Fourth dead humpback whale in a month washes up on Haida Gwaii

This marks the fourth dead humpback whale seen in B.C.’s coastal waters in just over a month and the second spotted from Haida Gwaii, Jackie Hildering, a humpback whale researcher at the Marine Education and Research Society stated.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) did a partial necropsy on the humpback’s body on Nov. 15, which included taking blubber and baleen samples as well as a number of measurements. These samples were sent to Vancouver to be analyzed.

The body of this humpback was more deteriorated than the first but still fairly intact, Chase Edwards, fishery officer at DFO on Haida Gwaii said.

Preliminary results from the necropsy of the first humpback whale found in Haida Gwaii showed blunt force trauma, suggesting it was hit by a vessel. However, the actual cause of death cannot be concluded until the full results from the tests come back, a spokesperson for the DFO stated in an email to Black Press Media.

Dead whales usually sink, making these sightings unusual, Hildering said.

It also means scientists do not know whether they signify an increase or a decrease in whale deaths.

DFO encourages the public to call the marine mammal incident reporting hotline at 1-800-465-4336 to report any sightings of dead, injured or distressed whales.

Kaitlyn Bailey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View