Dead fin whale dragged ashore after being hit by cruise ship

A cruise ship dragged in a dead whale to Vancouver’s harbour and floated off the bow of the ship when it docked.

Marine mammal scientist John Ford said it’s not known if the whale was dead or alive when the cruise ship struck the cruise ship.

It appeared the whale, believed to be a male fin whale, was hit north of Vancouver Island on Sunday.

It’s the third time a fin whale was brought into Vancouver harbour via the bow of a cruise ship.

The first incident was in 1999, followed by another 10 years later, when that whale was believed to have been hit after it had died.

Ford said it appears the whale was fresh but it’s also possible the whale was already dead when it was struck.

Fin whales are listed as threatened on the West Coast of Canada, but their numbers have been increasing after dwindling during the whaling era that ended in the early 1970s.

He said the presence of more fins is possibly why more of them are being hit by ships of all kinds.

Ford said in the Vancouver Sun the speed at which cruise ships and container vessels travel on the high seas could be a factor into why so many fin whales are struck.

“Fin whales, for some reason, are the most common large whales hit by ships…Fin and blue whales have been identified as being at risk in shipping lanes coming in and out of San Francisco and Long Beach, or Los Angeles, and there have been steps to try and reduce that by altering ships lanes when there are concentrations of whales in certain hot spots.

Scientists don’t know how many fin whales there are, though 500 of the individual whales have been identified from their markings through photographs in the last five years, mostly on the north coast of Vancouver Island, Ford said.

Fin whales are the second largest whales in the world, after blue whales, about 3,000 of which ply the waters of the Pacific Coast of the United States.

Ford said blue whale sightings are extremely rare on the West Coast.

h/t: Vancouver Sun

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