Whale carcass near Canso Causeway

Published on July 7, 2014

Photographer Gary Brinton captured this image of a deceased fin whale near shore in Port Hastings.

Submitted by Gary Brinton

PORT HASTINGS — The Marine Animal Response Society is hoping the carcass of a female fin whale will wash onshore so they determine how it died.

"We were hoping that it could be towed to shore and a necropsy could be done, but I don't think the resources are going to be available to do that," Andrew Reid, a Sydney native and a co-ordinator with the society, said Saturday.

"Where it was still partially submerged we wouldn't really have access to it, so I'm kind of hoping with the wind it might further push it up on shore."

The estimated 15-metre whale was first noticed Thursday near the Canso Causeway.

"It was first reported in the lock system on the north side and they opened the gates, let it through and it floated through to the south side."

At this point, Reid said the society is likely limited to an external examination of the whale. He said that might not be enough to determine a cause of death, but the society would still like to collect some information on it.  

"If it does come to shore we definitely want to hear about it," he said. "At that point we could at least go up and do some basic measurements and sampling and see if there are external signs of the cause of death. Sometimes there are, but if it is a natural death or something like a ship strike often you have to look at the internal anatomy."

The local whale sighting comes in the midst of a busy time for the society.

Currently, they are responding to reports of an entangled right whale off Cape Sable Island, a young harbour porpoise near Amherst and some entanglements in Newfoundland.

Sightings can be reported to the society by calling 1-866-567-6277.