Boaters and those on the waters near Vancouver are asked to take precautions as an injured whale has been spotted swimming nearby.
Ocean Wise stated in a news release today (April 14) that a humpback whale was observed with a deep cut in its tailstock. The injury is believed to be a strike wound from a vessel.
The whale had been observed in waters near Point Grey since early April. However, a whale watching vessel crew photographed the whale on April 11 with a deep laceration behind its dorsal fin.
Ocean Wise, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Prince of Whales, Ocean Ecoventures, and the Humpback Whales of the Salish Sea Project are monitoring the whale.
Jessica Scott, an Ocean Wise applied research biologist and B.C. Cetacean Sightings Network manager, explained
“Humpback whales are especially prone to ship strikes because they exhibit random travel patterns, remaining submerged for over 15 minutes in some cases, and because of their tendency to feed at the surface” Scott stated. “They can surface suddenly and without warning. For both boater and whale safety, it is important to operate vessels carefully in areas of known whale density, and to keep an eye out for signs of whale presence, such as blows, splashes, or aggregations of birds. Boaters have been severely injured by collisions with humpback whales in British Columbia.”
All boaters are required by law to slow down to below seven knots within 1,000 metres of the whale, and must give the whale a minimum of 100 metres space.
Humpback whales, despite a comeback over the past half-century, remain a species under special concern under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.