Whale rescue group
paying for own gas
BY DENE MOORE
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
By the time he arrived Friday morning the whale
"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
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.
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
Dead whale found on
ATLANTIC JOURNAL B R I E F S
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.