Whale death probed

A necropsy has been completed on the latest humpback whale to be killed from being trapped underwater by fish-farm equipment off the British Columbia coast.

Results are not yet available, but Fisheries and Oceans Canada is investigating after a juvenile whale was entangled between the inner and outer containment nets of the Grieg Seafood facility in Nootka Sound, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

A release from the Fisheries Department says the Nov. 25 incident marks the 21st whale entanglement this year, up from 10 to 15 recorded in a typical year.

It was also the second fatal entanglement in November, after a juvenile whale died in gear left at an unused Marine Harvest fish farm near Bella Bella on the central coast.

A third humpback was badly cut but survived in September, when fisheries experts, First Nations and workers at the fish farm struggled for more than six hours to free the exhausted, rope-entwined whale.

The Fisheries Department says that prior to the November deaths, entanglements at fish farms were extremely rare and mostly involved gear from gillnet fishing boats or shellfish trap lines.

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