ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Newfoundland and Labrador's Memorial University and the Royal Ontario Museum have finalized an agreement that will see the skeleton of a blue whale eventually displayed at the school.

The museum says it will begin dismantling the 23-metre whale this week after it washed ashore in Rocky Harbour on Newfoundland's west coast weeks ago.

Officials from the museum travelled to the Woody Point area earlier this month to begin the process of preserving another whale carcass.

It's believed the two animals were among nine blue whales that were crushed or drowned in unusually thick pack ice earlier this spring.

Mark Abrahams, the university's dean of science, says the whale skeleton will give students and faculty in St. John's the unique opportunity to study the world's largest mammal.

The dismantled carcass will be transported to Ontario for cleaning before it's returned to Newfoundland.

Abrahams says it could take as long as five years for the skeleton to be ready for display.

The university says funding for the recovery project will be covered mainly through private donations and other external sources.