Belugas, orcas make rare appearances off Nova Scotia
Published Friday, July 6, 2018 5:52PM EDT
A pod of seven orcas and a pair of belugas have made rare appearances in the waters off Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island.
“Seeing orcas is pretty rare in the Maritimes region,” Corey Webster of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) told CTV Atlantic. “Since 1963, there’s been about 40 or so sightings. Twenty-six of those have come in the last 10 years.”
The orcas were spotted by DFO officers in June. A video posted to the DFO Maritimes’ Twitter page shows the animals travelling about 25 nautical miles off the Cape Breton coast in the expansive St. Anns Bank Marine Protected Area, where DFO officers had been conducting routine surveillance.
“They seemed really interested in the boat,” Webster recalled. “Our guys were staying back away from them, and the group approached the boat. We took that opportunity to collect a lot of information on the pod of whales.”
According to DFO officials, the orcas were likely migratory animals in search of food. They believe they have since moved into waters off the coast of Newfoundland.
The pair of belugas, meanwhile, were spotted on Tuesday by a couple from Connecticut who had been taking a Zodiac tour near the community Ingonish.
Such sightings, Cape Breton fishermen told CTV Atlantic, are highly uncommon in the region.
“It’s pretty cool,” Aaron Anderson said. “It’s rare to find them around here because our waters aren’t warm, right? So it’s pretty strange.”
“We never seen none this season,” Shawn Tremblett added. “Probably about five or 10 years ago.”
The two sightings follow several recent reports of right whales seen nearby in the St. Lawrence River and the Grand Manan Basin, which sits in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. So far, they have been no reports of right whale deaths in Canadian waters this year.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald