Ottawa may help with removal of beached Newfoundland whales
Published Wednesday, April 30, 2014 7:57AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 30, 2014 5:53PM EDT
The federal and the provincial government are working to help two small towns in Newfoundland deal with whale carcasses that have been beached along the island's west coast.
Canada's Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Gail Shea posted on Twitter Wednesday that Ottawa is working with an undisclosed museum on an agreement to take ownership of the remains of the beached whales.
Shea said that her department is on site to help limit any public safety risks until the carcasses are removed.
A spokesperson for Shea declined to say which Canadian museum the government is working with, adding more information will be available Thursday.
Earlier Wednesday, Service NL spokesperson Vanessa Colman-Sadd told The Canadian Press the province was in talks with federal agencies on how to handle the situation.
What are Newfoundland’s options?
The federal Fisheries Department, meanwhile, has said one of the rotting whales is above the high water mark and is the province's responsibility.
Trout River Town Manager Emily Butler told CTV's Canada AM that the town of about 600 simply doesn't have the resources to remove the 25-metre whale from the shore.
Officials in Trout River are looking at possibly burying the whale, a method that's been used in other municipalities. However, Butler is concerned about the carcass taking years to fully decompose.
Another option is to preserve the mammal so its bones could eventually be put on display and used as a tourist attraction.
"That depends on funding and proper resources," Butler said early Wednesday.
Three of the mammoth marine mammals have beached on the west coast of Newfoundland. They were among nine that were found dead off Newfoundland's coast earlier this month.
As the whales decompose, their corpses fill with methane gas. However, researchers with the Fisheries Department have said the chances of the bloating whales exploding are small.
Meanwhile, Butler said the stench radiating from the whale, which is beached close to the town's main boardwalk, continues to worsen.
Residents have been warned to stay away from the giant creature.
With files from The Canadian Press