DFO seeks help finding entangled humpback whales off Vancouver Island
COURTENAY, B.C. -- The search continues for three entangled humpback whales along northern Vancouver Island, and representatives from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) are hoping the public can lend a hand.
"We really want to find all these animals" says Paul Cottrell, a DFO marine mammal coordinator.
"Within DFO and the coast guard we have everybody looking and all our air assets that are flying around anyway are looking," he says.
The federal government was notified on the weekend of a humpback named Checkmate that was entangled in fishing gear. They have since been told of two other entangled whales in the area.
Cottrell is hoping the public will be able to assist in locating the three whales. He's asking "all the eyes and ears that are on water," from recreational to commercial boaters, to call the DFO'sMarine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465-4336 if they see anything.
A tracking tag was put onto one of the entangled humpbacks, a juvenile known as X-ray, on the weekend but Cottrell says searchers are not receiving pings from their equipment.
"That's obviously a problem where we can't locate the animal," he says. "We think it's hung up and it's not reporting so we don't have a location on the animal."
Crews managed to remove about 60 metres of fishing gear from X-ray before losing track of the mammal. Cottrell says he's hopeful the remainder of the gear will fall off on its own.