First attempt to remove dead whale unsuccessful

Chris Quigley
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Blue whale carcass still on Trout River beach

An effort Wednesday to remove the blue whale carcass from the beach in Trout River failed.

Efforts are underway in Trout River to move the blue whale that washed up in the town to another location. Local fishermen are pictured trying to wrap netting around the carcass. — Submitted photo

Local fishermen in the town were assisting the Royal Ontario Museum with the task. The idea was to put nets around the dead mammal and tow it by boat into Woody Point.

The museum plans to preserve the skeletons of this whale and another that washed ashore at Rocky Harbour.

“It didn’t go as planned,” said fisherman Stephen Parsons, who was out in his speedboat for about three hours at-tempting to get ropes and a net around the 81-foot carcass.

“There was a lot of wind (Tuesday) night and (Wednesday) morning and there was still a nice swell,” he said. “We couldn’t get the net up under it and we couldn’t get the ropes around it, so I just gave up.”

Even if he was able to net the whale, he doesn’t believe his 40-foot boat would be able to tow the massive mammal. He said he heard there will be another fisherman trying today with his 115-foot boat.

Parsons was surprised the team brought in by the Royal Ontario Museum didn’t have anybody there to help with the removal process, just a group of five led by Dr. Mark D. Engstrom, who would be taking tissue samples for scientific research.

“They just hired on four or five men from here,” said Parsons, who made up a net himself with drag net twine, large enough to go around the whale twice.  

“It wasn’t enough to do anything, I couldn’t get back under him at all. I tried to haul the tail, to start to wiggle the net, but I couldn’t even pull the tail up.

“You need bigger equipment than what we’ve got here,” he added. “They should’ve brought some materials (they’ve) used on whales before.

Parsons, who was planning to go out crab fishing at 3 a.m. Thursday, said he was done with the job for the time being.

“Unless they want me to do something after I get in,” he said.


The Western Star

Organizations: Royal Ontario Museum

Geographic location: Trout River, Woody Point, Western Star

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