June 7, 2013
Marine mammal experts are trying to find a whale in distress in the St. Lawrence River near Tadoussac, Que.
Tour operators reporting sighting the fin whale entangled in crab-fishing gear yesterday.
The whale, a female nicknamed Captain Hook because of the shape of her dorsal fin, is well-known in the Tadoussac region.
The whale has been showing up in the protected marine park in the area where the Saguenay River flows into the St. Lawrence River since 1994, and is often the first of her species to arrive in the area each spring.
Officials from Parks Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and a leading whale research group located in the region — Le Groupe de recherche et d’éducation sur les mammifères marins (GREMM) — are trying to come up with a plan to help Captain Hook.
They say the crab-fishing gear, which appears to be caught on the whale’s head, poses significant dangers both to the whale and to anyone trying to help disentangle her from the gear.
They hope to get close enough to the animal tomorrow to tag her with a remote-monitoring device, in order to keep track of her until they can consult with international experts.
GREMM is warning people in the area not to get too close to the whale, and wants anyone who spots her to contact authorities.
Anyone who spots Captain Hook is asked to contact authorities at 1-877-722-5346