Jim Van Wart/Telegraph-Journal The
dead whale lies washed up on rocks at Pocologan. The whale's mouth is bloated
with air, causing the dome-shaped formation at the left of the
Dead whale washes
up-on rocks near Pocologan
Remi Ste. Marie
thought he saw an oveturned boat floating off the Charlotte coast on Friday
Closer examination showed it to be a dead
whale. By Saturday morning, it came ashore with the tide onto the rocky shore
arching inland from McCarthy's Point to Red Head - just west of Pocologan.
What looked like a man on the boat turned out to be the
whale's tail fin going up and down with the swell.
Ste. Marie, who works for Cooke Aquaculture, called the Canadian Coast Guard on
Friday and Saturday, but the rotting whale remained stuck on the rocks at
suppertime on Labour Day Monday.
Mr. Ste. Marie said
Monday that the Coast Guard and Department of Fisheries and Oceans believe it
might fall to the local municipal authority or the provincial government to
remove the carcass.
However, the crew at the aquaculture
site saw neither federal nor provincial officials over the long weekend.
Mr. Ste. Marie returned to the site on Monday afternoon.
A reporter caught him as he was about to load a skiff with cans of gasoline to
the crew on the scows at the Red Head cage site.
Friday, Mr. Ste. Marie delivered a load of salmon feed to the Red Head cage
"So I'm powering my way over on a scow, and I was
just powering my way out of the bay, and I saw this big brown thing," Mr. Ste.
Marie said Monday.
He saw the thing he mistook for an
upside down boat at about 2 p.m., on the Grand Manan side of Pocologan Island.
"He drifted from probably who knows where? Lepreau?" Mr. Ste. Marie said.
He said the shipping lane for marine traffic in and out
of Saint John lies several kilometres off where he saw the whale.
He called the Fundy Coast Guard, then proceeded with his
On his way to to Boyne's Cove at about 4:45
p.m., he saw the whale again, this time beached on the southeast side of
Pocologan Island, so he called the Coast Guard again.
Heading back to shore at 8:30 p.m., he saw the whale
again, 'this time caught on ledges to the northeast or Pocologan side of the
island. By now he worried that the whale would drift to the cage site where it
could foul gear and, possibly, carry diseases to the salmon.
Mr. Ste. Marie said the Coast Guard wanted to know if the
whale had fishing gear attached to it.
He saw seaweed
that could indicate ropes or other gear, and is not certain he did not see a
buoy, but did not want to get closer for fear of fouling the propellor of his
own craft, and of carrying disease to the aquaculture site.
By Saturday morning, the tide brought the whale ashore
where Mr. Ste. Marie believes the rocks will hold it fast unless a crew moves
"Saturday, there were people coming left and right,"
Mr. Ste. Marie said.
People came by foot and four-wheeler
down pathways from the main road to see the whale beached in front of
residences by the shore.
By Monday the bloated head had
shrunk noticeably, and seagulls and other birds were having a feast.
The aquaculture crew do not know what type of whale it
"My best guess is a minke," Mr. Ste. Marie said. "You
could narrow it down to a minke or a right, but I would guess a minke."
Island to get
A dead finback
whale that washed on to the rocky shores at Pocologan has become a big, fat
pain for fish farmers and nearby residents who want to get rid of the carcass.
The whale was discovered Friday afternoon by a salmon
cage worker who reported it to the Coast Guard. The rotting whale remained
stuck , on the rocks where it became a curiosity for locals, a potential danger
for salmon farmers and a buffet for gulls.
to want to take the bull by the horns," said Rick Doucet, the Charlotte MLA who
inherited the whale of a problem.
He said he got a call
about the whale on Saturday, while he was at the Rolling Stones concert in
He contacted government departments at the
federal and provincial levels through Tuesday morning and into the afternoon.
"Everything's at a snail's pace," said Mr. Doucet, who
said he wants to drag the whale to a deserted island.
"Nobody wants to take ownership of it," Mr. Doucet said
By mid-afternoon, the provincial
Department of Natural Resources had agreed to pay a contractor to haul the
whale off the Pocologan shore to a nearby island.
whale is expected to be carted away today.
the marine mammal co-ordinator with the federal Department of Fisheries and
Oceans in Dartmouth, said if the whale had been an endangered North Atlantic
right whale, researchers would want to take the animal apart to learn about how
Right whales are traditionally found in the Bay
of Fundy in September. There are only 300 to 350 North Atlantic right whales in
But since the whale is a more common finback,
it becomes the responsibility of local governments to remove it, Mr. Conway
The best, but most costly, option is to drag the
carcass out to sea, he said.
"In this case, where it's in
the Bay of Fundy, it's going to be a bit difficult and expensive," Mr. Conway
said. He's also heard of cases where dead whales are hauled onto a beach and
Department of Natural Resources spokesman Brent
Roy said the whale will be secured on an uninhabited island.