DFO and Straitwatch team preparing for the disentanglement on Saturday, July 25. (Photo courtesy, Cetus Research and Conservation Society)

Three humpback whales reported entangled near Vancouver Island in the last four days

The DFO crew is still on the lookout for the whales to complete the disentangling process

Three cases of entangled humpback whales have been reported within the past four days, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has confirmed.

The Marine Education and Research Society (MERS) identified two of the whales that were reported to the DFO as Checkmate and X-Ray.

A spokesperson for DFO, Lara Sloan, said in an e-mail, that they also received a report of a third humpback in the Central Coast area entangled in a seine net and mobile with a 100 feet of netting. This whale is yet to be relocated.

On Saturday, July 25, DFO was alerted about Checkmate, entangled in Sutil Channel near Quadra Island and a team was dispatched to rescue the whale. The team consists of members from DFO Marine Mammal Rescue, Conservation & Protection (C&P) Campbell River and Straitwatch.

The whale had a crab trap trailing close to it and a rope entangled through its pectoral fin. Since the surface was submerged underwater, the crew was unable to completely disentangle the whale. Given how “tight the rope was to the body of the whale,” the crew were not able to attach a satellite tag to track the whale before it slipped away.

While searching for Checkmate on July 26, DFO received another entanglement report of a humpback calf, X-Ray, that was travelling with its mother. The crew were able to remove 200 feet of rope from the calf.

As the weather deteriorated they attached a satellite tag to the remaining trailing gear to track the whale and continue disentangling it, said Sloan.

The crew worked to disentangle the whale for 10 hours from Salmon Point south of Campbell River to Kelsey Bay where it was last seen. The operation is still underway and the crew is out on the water with Port Hardy C&P (lead vessel) and MERS (support vessel).

Checkmate and X-Ray still need to be relocated to remove the remaining entangled gear.

Entanglements pose a serious danger to Humpbacks with over 50 percent of them physically scarred by it. Some instances have also been fatal for the whales. In April, the carcass of an entangled juvenile humpback whale washed ashore on a beach north of Kyuquot on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: Entangled humpback whale found dead on remote Vancouver Island beach

Citizen whale watchers who are able to spot Checkmate based on its markings, can report it to DFO at 1-800-465-4336. Entanglement cases and any marine mammal in distress can also be reported on the number.

Citizens are also advised not to attempt to remove any fishing gear or rope from the whale as it risks both human and whale safety. Professional training and equipment are needed to assess the entanglement.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Another modular unit is lifted into place on the second floor of the new supportive housing complex being built at 580 Dogwood Street on Thursday this past week. Photo by Cleo Corbett/City of Campbell River
Campbell River’s newest supportive housing facility rises on Dogwood Street

Pre-fab modular construction means the building can go on the foundation in under five days

RCMP remind people to lock their doors after dark. Black Press file photo.
RCMP seeing jump in property crime and unlocked vehicles

Drivers also cautioned to stay aware of changing road conditions

The Campbell River branch of the Vancouver Island Regional Library is scheduled for demolition in 2021 to make way for a new $14-million library facility. File photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Mayor of Campbell River addresses concerns surrounding new library funding

‘This $14 million is the Vancouver Island Regional Library board’s money,’ mayor says

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for parts of Vancouver Island for Thursday and Friday.(File photo)
Snowfall expected in parts of Vancouver Island

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall advisory for north, east and inland Vancouver Island this week

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read