This photo shows the fresh, deep gash on a humpback whale. Photo courtesy Peter Hamilton/Lifeforce Ocean Friends

Injured humpback whale spotted near Comox

Fresh gash on juvenile possibly caused by boat prop

An injured humpback whale has a local conservationist concerned.

Peter Hamilton, of Lifeforce Ocean Friends, said he first spotted the juvenile swimming alone on July 8, in the Georgia Strait, about a mile off Cape Lazo, near Comox.

“I was out, and I saw this one humpback alone, doing very shallow surfacing, which I thought was a little unusual, so I observed [it] for a while and saw some injuries on its side,” said Hamilton. “Eventually he or she swam close to the boat and I got a photo of a very deep cut, exposing part of the spine, between the dorsal fin and the tail.”

Hamilton was unsure of the cause of the injury.

“It could have been a prop, or it could have been an entanglement, but there was no reports of anyone untangling a humpback,” he said. “The cut itself looked like it could have been done by a boat prop, but there were other marks that looked like they could have been rope burns.

“I’ve been in communication with Jackie [Hildering] at MERS (Marine Education and Research Society), trying to determine the injury. Hopefully we can determine the cause of the injury soon.”

Hamilton said he saw the whale again two days later, this time swimming with another whale.

“That is hopeful, seeing it with another whale. It was kind of worrisome, seeing one humpback alone, with such a severe, fresh wound.”

In May, photos surfaced online of an injured humpback in Howe Sound. That injury was suspected to have been caused by a boat propeller.

“There is a lot of human activity on the waters, which makes it hazardous for the whales,” said Hamilton. “Unfortunately, the new regulations did not increase the distance boaters have to keep from humpbacks. It should be at least 200 metres.”

RELATED: New regulations call for more distance between boats and whales

New regulations imposed this week stipulate boats must remain 200 metres from all killer whales in B.C. The regulated distance from humpbacks remains 100 metres.

Just Posted

Spring fishery closures mulled for south coast

Fewer fish are returning to rivers and more conservation needed, say feds

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

Four weather extremes in just six months a cause for concern

Global warming contributing to the full gamut of conditions

Column: Snow reveals the character of a community

For every internet complainer there were two more willing to help a neighbour

Car fire destroys vehicle in Chemainus

Traffic rerouted for a short time at the Henry Road roundabout

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

B.C. Special Olympics officially underway in Vernon

Athlete’s Oath: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”

Vancouver Aquarium wants your help to name a baby killer whale

The public helped name Springer’s first calf, Spirit, and is being asked to help with the second

Guards protest firing of fellow officers charged with assault at B.C. prison

Corrections officers demonstrated in Maple Ridge on Friday afternoon

Skier dies at Revelstoke Mountain Resort

Cause of death for young man has not been released

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

More sailings coming to 10 BC Ferries’ routes

Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said the sailings were originally cut in 2014

Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

Gerald Cotten, holding the keys to money tied up in his virtual currency exchange, died in December.

Regulator’s report, coming today, unlikely to settle Trans Mountain pipeline battle

The Trans Mountain pipeline will remain a controversial topic both in the political ring and out

Most Read