A fin whale that became stranded Wednesday morning in the shallow waters of Jersey Cove in Cape Breton has been towed out to sea.

Workers with the Nova Scotia Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture and the Marine Animal Response Society surrounded the whale with pontoons in an effort to usher it out to sea.

Andrew Reid, co-ordinator of the Marine Animal Response Society, told CBC News that staff were able to escort the whale out of the bay when it slipped past the pontoons and began swimming back toward Jersey Cove.

They chased the whale in a boat and managed to persuade it to head back out to sea, said Reid.

A local municipal councillor said the animal was spotted early Wednesday morning. 

Reid earlier suspected it might be a minke whale, but said upon closer inspection that it was likely a young fin whale, about 10 metres long.

Reid said the whale may have come in close to shore to feed and then become trapped by the ebbing tide. He said that in shallow water it's difficult for these creatures to navigate using sonar. They often get confused and are unable to make their way back out to open water.