British Columbia

Dead humpback washes ashore in Tsawwassen

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says carcass will be moved so necropsy can be performed.

Coast Guard hovercraft tows dead whale to its Sea Island base for a necropsy

A dead humpback whale washed ashore in Tsawwassen, B.C. on Friday. Fisheries officials were dispatched to move the carcass so a necropsy can be done. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

A dead humpback whale that washed up near the BC Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen has been towed away for a necropsy.

The carcass, which appeared to be a juvenile, was first reported by a nearby resident.

It drew a large crowd of onlookers Friday morning including members of the the Tsawwassen First Nation who held a ceremony to honour the dead humpback.

The whale carcass drew a large crowd of onlookers Friday morning. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Andrea Jacobs, an executive council member, said she was really saddened to hear about the whale washing up.

"We just wanted to be respectful and follow traditional protocols."

Andrea Jacobs, a Tsawwassen First Nation executive council member, said she was really saddened to hear about the whale washing up. (Jon Hernandez/CBC )

After the ceremony, the Canadian Coast Guard's hovercraft arrived. Crews tethered the caracass to the vessel and towed it away to the Sea Island base where crews will preform a necropsy. 

Paul Cottrel, the DFO's marine mammal co-ordinator, says crews will try to find out how the whale died: whether it was emaciated or struck by a boat.

"It's really important to figure out what's happened to this animal, why it died and make sure that if there is a human cause, what that is," Cottrel said. 

The Coast Guard tows the whale to Sea Island for a necropsy. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

Depending on the cause of death, official lab results could take several weeks.

Cottrel says the humpback whale population is thriving along the coast of Vancouver Island and in the Georgia Strait. 

While that has been a welcome sight for whale watchers and researchers, the number of conflicts with vessels is also on the rise.

Cottrel says the humpback whale sightings have increased along the coast of Vancouver Island and in the Georgia Strait. (Jon Hernandez/CBC)

The dead humpback whale wasn't the only dead whale in B.C. waters this week. A dead orca calf was found on Nootka Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island Wednesday.

That whale is suspected to be a member of the transient killer whale population, rather than a member of the threatened southern resident killer whale group.

With files from Jon Hernandez and Deborah Wilson

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