Minke whale tan­gled in fish­ing net off St. Carols dies

Lo­cals tow re­mains to sea

The Pilot - - Classified - BY KYLE GREEN­HAM kyle.green­ham@north­ern­pen.ca

A minke whale of mas­sive pro­por­tions lay dead in the har­bour of St. Carols Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Sept. 6, tan­gled in a her­ring net.

As fish­er­men worked to un­tan­gle the whale and pull it back to the ocean, peo­ple be­gan driv­ing down to the har­bour to wit­ness the spec­ta­cle.

Peo­ple along the St. Carols coast no­ticed a Minke whale blow­ing far off the shores Sun­day evening, Sept. 3. The whale had got­ten en­snared in lo­cal fish­er­man Dale Richards’ her­ring net, likely that night.

Chris Rose, who fishes with Richards, says when they came to see their sunken nets they knew the whale was tan­gled and un­able to es­cape.

“Dale said in his 45 years of fish­ing, it was the first time he had seen a whale get caught in a net like this,” Rose said.

But the el­e­ments worked against the har­vesters and they were un­able to try to re­lease the whale un­til Wed­nes­day. A long pe­riod of rain and strong winds made a boat trip to gather the nets and free the whale too dan­ger­ous.

“We would’ve liked to have got­ten him out sooner, but we had to wait for the weather to die down,” Rose said.

As the net was brought in to the har­bour car­ry­ing the car­cass, lo­cal men gath­ered their waders and headed out into the ocean shore. Hav­ing been caught two days ear­lier, the stench of the dead whale was strong.

The net was tan­gled around the whale’s tail, so the men had to cut off the tail’s fins to re­lease it.

At first, a sin­gle rope was tied around the whale’s tail and pulled by a truck near the wharf. It only sent the whale spin­ning, so they tried ty­ing the rope to its front fin — a ma­noeu­vre that re­sulted in even less suc­cess. Af­ter ty­ing two ropes to its tail, the whale was suc­cess­fully dragged to the wharf.

The rope was sub­se­quently tied to a boat, and the fish­er­men drove the whale off into the deep At­lantic wa­ter to be re­leased.

With a pop­u­la­tion of roughly 64 peo­ple, the com­mu­nity came to­gether to lend a hand and bear wit­ness to the rare sight of the minke whale.

KYLE GREEN­HAM / THE NORTH­ERN PEN

Dale Richards heard Sun­day evening, Sept. 3, that a whale had likely got­ten en­snared in his her­ring net, af­ter the whale was see­ing blow­ing in the area by lo­cals. Due to rough weather, the whale was not re­leased un­til Wed­nes­day morn­ing, Sept. 6.

KYLE GREEN­HAM / THE NORTH­ERN PEN

The minke whale was pulled to the wharf by rope and truck, and then brought out into deeper wa­ter by boat.

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