Dead minke whale discovered on beach
Whale washed up on shoreline in Yarmouth
The body of a minke whale measuring close to 20 feet was discovered on the western shore of Yarmouth Bar on Christmas Day.
Andrew Reid, a response co-ordinator with the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), said officials with the Oceanographic Environmental Research Society and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans had visited the dead mammal on the beach and collected samples and measurements.
From the length of the whale, Reid estimated it is a juvenile minke whale. Reported maximum lengths for minke whales are 30-35 feet for females and 29-32 feet for males. Both sexes can weigh four to five tons at sexual maturity. They typically live 30-50 years.
Reid said a necropsy would be necessary to determine more accurately how the whale died, but he said it was unlikely the procedure would be done at this time of the year.
He added from the initial images he’d seen, it didn’t appear the whale had sustained injuries from a vessel’s prop.
“There would have been deeper gashes if they had been from a prop,” he said, adding some of the marks on the whale’s body likely came from shoreline rocks or where samples were taken.
This isn’t the first time a whale has washed ashore in Yarmouth County at this time of the year. On Dec. 23, 2015, the body of 30-foot male humpback washed ashore near Sandford.
In 2009, DFO staff spent a couple of days in late December working to save stranded pilot whales that had beached themselves near Port Maitland and Bartlett’s Beach. Some were returned to the water with assistance, some were able to go back to sea when the tide came in but at least a couple of the whales did die.
If you find a marine mammal in distress in Nova Scotia, or a whale that’s washed ashore, call MARS at 1-866-567-6277.
A dead minke whale was discovered on the western shore of Yarmouth Bar on Christmas Day.