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Another whale turns up dead on B.C. shoreline

A necropsy is being done to determine how the whale died.
A dead humpback whale was discovered on the shoreline of the Village of Masset on Haida Gwaii.

A dead humpback whale has washed up again on a B.C. shoreline, adding to the spike in dead carcasses being found in recent months. 

Since Oct. 23, at least five humpback whales have washed up dead in the province. 

Paul Cottrell, marine mammal coordinator at DFO, said crews were travelling to the Village of Masset on Haida Gwaii for a report of a dead humpback.

"I was actually at the airport on Sunday, heading up to Masset, because we, unfortunately, do have dead humpback up there, again," he says. 

Two team members went on Monday to conduct a necropsy on the animal while two others stayed in Port Hardy to help with an entangled whale. 

“It's been a crazy few days for our team, but we got it all done,” he tells Glacier Media. 

Cottrell added that the results from the necropsy will provide important information. 

“It looks like there's evidence of an entanglement, so we still need to get a lot of information on that,” he says. 

The investigation into the death is still in the early stages.

Cottrell says the latest discovery confirms five dead whales, possibly six, in the last three months; he says DFO isn't sure about one floating whale and if it's a duplicate.


On Oct. 12 and Oct. 15, a humpback carcass was spotted floating in the ocean near Prince Rupert, but it’s not clear where or even if it washed up. 

A female humpback whale was found dead off Malcolm Island on Oct. 23; nicknamed Spike, she had suffered blunt force trauma. 

A young male was found dead on Nov. 5 and had signs of blunt force trauma but experts have not been able to positively identify him. 

Then, on Nov. 13, the third carcass washed up. It hasn’t been identified due to heavy decay. 

A week later, on Nov. 20, a dead humpback whale was found near Naikoon Provincial Park on Haida Gwaii. 

Anyone who witnesses a whale in distress is asked to contact DFO’s Observe, Record & Report (ORR) line at 1-800-465-4336.