Saturday 8 September 2018

Humpback Whale seen floating dead off the coast of Brier Island, Nova Scotia.

The Marine Animal Response Society and Canadian Coast Guard are investigating after a dead Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, was seen floating off the coast of Brier Island, Nova Scotia, on Friday 7 September 2018. The dead animal is believed to be an adult female well known to Whale watchers under the name of Peajack, who has lived in the area since 1995 and raised two calves during that time. The cause of the death has not yet been established, but the carcass appeared to be entangled in some sort of rope or net.

A female Humpback Whale floating off the coast of Brier Island, Nova Scotia, on 7 September 2018. The ballooning in is the tongue of the animal, which becomes swollen in the decomposition process. Brier Island Whale and Seabird Cruises.

Humpback Whales were nearly exterminated by commercial Whaling in the first part of the twentieth century. The species has been protected since 1946, and in recent years their population has appeared to be recovering in many areas, however they are still considered to be a species of special concern under the Canadian Species at Risk Act. This is the third report of a dead Humpback on the east Canadian coast this year, with two other deaths reported in the Bay of Fundy and off the Magdalen Islands, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There have also been many reports of Whales appearing to be underweight, raising concerns that they may be impacted by the Herring fishing industry.

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