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Humpback found dead in northern BC

Last Updated Nov 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)

CAMPBELL RIVER (NEWS 1130) -A humpback whale has died off BC’s northern coast after becoming tangled up in a fish farm’s anchoring system.

The beast was found entangled at an empty aquaculture site in Sheep Passage.

While the company, Marine Harvest Canada, is promising to make changes, a marine biologist is pointing to a bigger problem.

Alexandra Morton says whales, seals, dolphins, and sea lions are drawn to the schools of herring these farms attract.

“These blowers are blowing the seed out, it’s very greasy and the fish love it. That’s why they feed it to their fish.”

She says it’s not uncommon to hear about animals being tangled up in the lines.

Morton says this kind of thing is happening with unsettling frequency…

“There was a humpback whale that died in the Ahousaht territory, a grey whale down in Tofino, a humpback whale was entangled badly for over a day up in Sheep Passage this summer — a different whale I think, although we don’t really know.”

The obvious answer?

“Put the farms on land,” offers Morton. “It’s a solution across the board.”

The humpback was found as crews were taking apart the site’s anchoring system after another whale became caught up in September. The company says prior to that, nothing of the kind had happened in three decades of operations.

Campbell River-based Fisheries and Oceans Canada was notified and an investigation is ongoing.