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Whale rescue group paying for own gas

BY DENE MOORE
Canadian Press
June 16/03

    CAPE BROYLE, Nfld. - The whales arrived early in Newfoundland this year, and everywhere tourists climb into boats to be treated to one of Canada's most awesome spectacles as humpback and minke whales breach alongside icebergs.
   But the seas around Newfoundland and Labrador are working oceans, not just tourist attractions. Already there have been two whales reported tangled in fishing gear.
   And twice Wayne Ledwell of the group Whale Release and Stranding has been unable to help.
   "It was right there," Mr. Ledwell said Friday, pointing about 30 metres off a small wharf in Cape Broyle harbour, 75 kilometres south of St. John's.
   A fisherman who saw the minke whale struggling under the weight of two anchors had called Mr. Ledwell the night before.
   By the time he arrived Friday morning the whale was gone.
   "The whale had towed off two large anchors that were approximately 800 pounds (360 kilograms)," he said.
   "I don't think the animal could survive unless it managed to shake the gear, which is unlikely because there's an inch-and-a-half rope on it."
   The dead whale surfaced in the small harbour on Saturday where it and another whale had chased herring the week before.
   Over the past two years, Whale Release has had reports of 55 whales tangled in fishing gear. In many cases, they've been able to recover the expensive gear and save some endangered species.
   But the federal government has cut funding for the program this year.
   Although there is some money for the toll-free reporting line, Mr. Ledwell paid for his own gas to drive down to Cape Broyle on Friday with a small zodiac boat.
"We ran the program on bare-bones funding the last two years from Environment Canada, who slashed the funding this year because they reckon it's not their problem, it's DFO's problem," Mr. Ledwell said.

Dead whale found on N.S. shoreline

ATLANTIC JOURNAL B R I E F S
June 17/03

LOCKEPORT, N.S. - Fishery officers were examining a dead whale Monday that was found along Nova Scotia's southern shoreline. Spokesman Jerry Jacklyn said the 20-metre finback whale weighs between 40 and 45 tonnes. He said it appears the whale died of natural causes at sea. The whale was found at Western Head, near Lockeport. A marine mammal expert from the Bedford Institute of Oceanography has been contacted and could travel to the area to examine the dead creature. Mr. Jacklyn said it looks as if the whale washed up on the beach south of Lockeport some time Saturday evening. With sunny, warm weather in the forecast, he said officials were hoping to get it removed as quickly as possible.

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