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ADAM HURAS/THE TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL
The carcass of a 50-ton whale that washed ashore sometime on the weekend lays on the beach at Slack's Cove, south of Dorchester, on Sheopody Bay.

Questions remain as whale carcass being put back in sea

ADAM HURAS
TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL
JULY 04/08

    MONCTON - More than three days after a 50-ton whale washed up on the shores of Shepody Bay south of Dorchester, officials have decided who is responsibile for disposing of the putrid carcass.
   But while the whale's remains will be carted away as early as today, questions remain about what caused its death, or how it ended up in Slack's Cove.
   The injured whale was first seen Saturday in another cove on the Cumberland Basin, which connects to Chignecto Bay and the Bay of Fundy.
   On Sunday, Daniel Michaud, of the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources in Dieppe, was on site and said the whale, which is believed to be a fin whale, was dead, but away from shore.
   "When they're injured away from shore it's not us, it's not our mandate;' said Michaud on Wednesday. "Where we come into play is when it's beached, that's why we're here:'
   The Department of Fisheries and oceans deals with injured whales.
   "We're just trying to get the whale off the beach right now," said Michaud. "Looking at different options to try to get it out, but we're still in the planning stages."
   Late Wednesday afternoon, local excavating companies were called in to see if the whale could be pulled up a steep embankment surrounding the cove. If it could, it will be trucked out and buried. If not, the department would then explore pushing it out to sea.
   "It's probably one of the worst places it could have got into - along the coast here," said Michaud, adding offshore rocks would also create problems in removing the whale.
   He said he believes either way, the whale would be gone by tomorrow.
   How the whale died or how it came to rest in shallow waters remain unclear.
   "I don't know," said Michaud. "That's Fisheries and Oceans."
    But the Department of Fisheries and Oceans was singing the opposite tune.
   "The Department of Natural Resources was there and they may have drafted a report;' said Michel Therien, communications for fisheries management. "Like I said, I haven't heard anyone from our science branch wanting to collect data."
   He added that contact information of his departments scientists were given to Natural Resources, but didn't know anything further beyond taking an educated guess himself.
   "From the photos I have seen it appears that that whale may have been struck by a vessel,' said Therien. "All the marks on her back, her fin almost cut in two, but that's just my opinion."
   A member of DNR's communications department did not know of any report and said she had no information on the whale's cause of death.
   She did say it was the fifth whale to die in that area in the past five years.
   Whale experts at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown did not return calls.
   Members of the Marine Animal Response Society in Nova Scotia said they would be making the trek to determine the whales cause of death late last night.
   "We normally only deal with Nova Scotia, but we're going to go take a look at this mammal," said Andrew Reid, one of the groups coordinators. "I can't really say anything about the cause of death right now. It depends if we will see anything obvious on why it was stranded."

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