All of trapped dolphins off Newfoundland have died: Fisheries Department

The Canadian Press
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Fisheries officers say all of the 30 or so white-beaked dolphins that were trapped in pack ice off Newfoundland have died.

All white-beaked dolphins trapped by ice near Cape Ray have died, according to fisheries officials.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says it is likely that by the time the ice breaks in the Cape Ray area the carcasses of the animals will have been dispersed by the current.

It says the provincial and municipal governments are responsible for the removal of any animal carcasses that wash ashore.

Wayne Ledwell of Whale Release and Strandings in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s said Monday the dolphins were first spotted the night before near Cape Ray.

By late Monday afternoon, Fisheries and Oceans said all but three of the mammals had died.

The department says its officers confirmed the deaths of all the animals today.

White-beaked dolphins, which can weigh up to 300 kilograms, are usually among the first of whales, dolphins and porpoises to arrive in the waters around Newfoundland as spring approaches, Ledwell said.

As a result, they are also the ones most prone to getting trapped, he said, adding that a much smaller group was reported trapped offshore earlier this year.

Ledwell said his records show more than 400 whales, dolphins and porpoises have been reported trapped in the ice since the 1970s.

The Fisheries Department said six blue whales — the largest animals on the planet at up to 30 metres long — were driven ashore by ice in 1987.

Organizations: Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Cape Ray, Portugal Cove Cape Ray.By

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Recent comments

  • Lee Walsh
    March 18, 2014 - 14:38

    The animals should have been euthanised by wildlife, DFO or the RCMP rather than left to suffer for hours/days.

  • Tammy Vaters
    March 18, 2014 - 12:53

    OMG! What the hell took the department of fisheries so long to respond!