A humpback whale has died off the west coast of Vancouver Island after becoming tangled. Grieg, in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) officials, is currently investigating.
This is the first time in 16 years of operating that Grieg Seafood has experienced an incident involving a whale at any of its farms in B.C.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada were first alerted to the incident on the morning of Nov. 25. Divers located the dead whale the following day, and the marine mammal was finally retrieved on Nov. 28 by DFO staff. A necropsy was conducted Thursday with help from provincial veterinarians.
The DFO’s Conservation and Protection unit is currently investigating the incident to ensure that Grieg Seafood BC was in compliance with its licence conditions. Officials also say humpback whales have recently become more abundant in coastal waters.
“In a typical year, DFO’s marine mammal response team receives 10 to 15 confirmed, unique reports of a whale entanglement; in 2016 there have been 21 such reports to date, three of which occurred at an aquaculture site,” says communications advisor Michelle Rainer in a statement from Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
“Most whale entanglements involve fishing gear such as gillnets or shellfish trap lines.”