Killer whale in trouble, public asked to keep eye-out

Residents are being asked to keep their eyes open for a killer whale that was spotted Sunday tangled in fishing gear.

Robert Barron – Nanaimo Daily News

Residents are being asked to keep their eyes open for a killer whale that was spotted Sunday tangled in fishing gear.

Paul Cottrell, the regional marine mammal co-ordinator for DFO, said the whale, which has been identified as a meat-eating transient orca, was last seen near Thetis Island with what appears to be a rope and fishing float wrapped around its dorsal fin.

He said it’s not known how entangled the whale is in the fishing gear or whether it had managed to clear itself of the equipment since it was originally spotted.

“We have a team ready to go if the whale is spotted and is still entangled in the gear,” Cotrell said.

“The team does many similar disentanglements every year, but it’s a big ocean and we haven’t had any reports on the whale since Sunday.

Cotrell said the public is being asked to call 1-800-465-4336 if they see the orca.

“It’s important that people get in touch with us right away when they spot this whale, or other marine mammals needing assistance,” he said.

“We need to move quickly to respond before the mammals move on.