CKNW News Talk 980, Nov 18, 2015 (emphasis added): The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is looking into the death of three fin whales near Bella Bella on BC’s central coast… Paul Cottrel with the DFO says a multiple death like this is extremely unusual. “We just get one or two a year, and usually never in the same area like this, or on the same beach which is even more rare. So that’s why it’s definitely a very unique situation.” He says all three whales were juvenile males, two of them likely younger than two-years-old… He says there were no bite marks on the carcasses, or any signs of boat strike either. Cottrel says the DFO conducted a necropsy, but found no obvious cause of death.
Global News, Nov 19, 2015: Questions raised after carcasses of 3 dead fin whales found near Bella Bella… “It is very rare and odd that you get three large whales together in one small area,” says Cottrell. “We want to know why it happened, whether it is a natural event, killer whale predation or something else.” Cottrell says, to his knowledge, it has never happened in B.C. before, which is a source for concern. The fin whales are listed as threatened under the Species At Risk Act… and are the second-largest animal on the planet after blue whales. “Any time you get three animals that wash up and die together and it is a threatened species, we are going to work hard to figure out what happened,” he says… “Given the location and where they ended up, all close together, we are thinking that the animals likely live stranded and died there together”…
Vancouver Sun Nov 19, 2015: The recent deaths of three young fin whales near Bella Bella are causing concern after a summer that saw an unusual spike in large whale deaths… “Fin whales are listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act, so every animal is extremely important to the population. Seeing three together, obviously it’s disturbing and we want to find out what happened,” Cottrell said. He added that it’s very unusual for baleen whales like fins to die in groups… Samples have been taken from the whales’ stomachs and colons… The results of lab tests may take a while, though, because of a backlog caused by a pulse of large whale deaths this summer along the West Coast of North America. “We’re really working everybody pretty hard, and these three fin whales doesn’t lessen the load at all,” Cottrell said. Four humpback whales were found dead in a single week in B.C. waters in August, and as of this week, five fin whale carcasses have been discovered. One sperm whale and one grey whale have also died this year. Meanwhile, more than 30 large whales have died off the coast of Alaska. Scientists have yet to determine why so many whales have died… Scientists are also testing for radionucleotides to see if radioactivity was a factor.
Coastal Guardian Watchmen Network, Oct 27, 2015: Heiltsuk Guardian Watchmen found this large plastic tote and a tire… near Bella Bella yesterday. Tsunami debris is still arriving…
From last week: “Unprecedented”: Largest animal on earth found dead on West Coast, “very sick… very emaciated” — TV: Food supply is being “killed off… many sea creatures affected” — Expert: Most whales we’ve been tracking for past two years are not doing well… “I think we’re going to see more of this” (VIDEO)
See also: Giant whales found dead up & down Pacific NW coast, scientists ‘baffled’ over surge — 25+ carcasses reported in past month — Gov’t: “Troubling… Definitely a pulse of deaths” — Experts: “Alarming spike… Exceptionally rare to see a dead humpback” — Concerns about unidentified pathogen (PHOTOS)
Published: November 20th, 2015 at 4:55 am ET