A humpback whale was found entangled in an anchor support line at an empty aquaculture site in Marine Harvest’s northern operating area in Sheep Passage, on B.C’s Central Coast.
Marine biologist Alexandra Morton says salmon farms attract whales.
“Fish like the food that is coming out of their feeders, I’ve seen large schools of herring outside the pens and I think that’s what the whales are doing, they are going in and trying to fish these large stocks of fish outside the pens, alongside the nets.”
Marine Harvest – who are one of the world’s largest seafood companies – say the whale was discovered while dismantling the site following a previous entanglement of a whale in September.
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Morton says its not an unusual situation.
“There’s been grey whales and other mammals, seals and sea lions caught in these nets.”
Morton says humpback whales are a good news story as they make a comeback on the BC coast but she says salmon farms have created a serious threat to that because whales are attracted to them as they feed.
In a statement on its website, Marine Harvest says Fisheries and Oceans Canada have been notified.
The company also says that prior to September’s incident, “no such encounter had occurred in the company’s 30 years of operation.”