Ottawa puts out call for 24-hour service to free tangled whales off Newfoundland

The Canadian Press
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PORTUGAL COVE-ST. PHILIP’S, N.L. — Thousands of whales are arriving for the summer feeding season off Newfoundland, and the federal government is hiring help to free those that get caught in fishing gear.

It’s offering a four-month contract starting Aug. 1 for a 24-hour emergency service for marine animals that are tangled, stranded or in trouble.

Ottawa funds such efforts each year as the province records more tangling incidents than any other part of the country.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says about 50 incidents in each of the last two years have been reported, but it’s not clear how many whales have died.

Many incidents are not officially reported.

Wayne Ledwell has led the 24-hour assistance program since 2001 with his non-profit group Whale Release and Strandings based in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, N.L., west of St. John’s.

He says fishing gear is still a major threat to humpback whales in particular because of their size and high numbers.

Organizations: Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Geographic location: Ottawa, Newfoundland, PORTUGAL COVE

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Recent comments

  • keith fillier
    June 12, 2013 - 22:56

    Maybe they could invest to save people too!

  • paul
    June 12, 2013 - 20:44

    I'm all for this, but it would be nice of they put that much interest in SAR...

  • Taxed to death
    June 12, 2013 - 20:16

    Maybe the dying fisheries industry can get more money and maybe EI three times a year for a months work and blame the whales.

  • gerry
    June 12, 2013 - 19:41

    'Hey Ron'...bet you & and your fellow mainlanders still want your 30 dollar lobster appetizers soaked in melted better & the odd cod or flounder main course at your greenpeace fundraisers now & then though....

  • Bob
    June 12, 2013 - 17:31

    Wouldn't it be wonderful that the Federal govt. could do this for Humans as well, for example, Search & Rescue

  • Casey
    June 12, 2013 - 15:27

    Great while NL'ss resources, mostly fish are being given to the EU. Ottawa has more concern for whales than it has for the people of NL.

  • Ron
    June 12, 2013 - 14:52

    Hey Tony Rockel" Its not Peter McKays Fishing nets that are doing the damage it is your fellow Nefoundlanders.

    • Tony Rockel
      June 12, 2013 - 19:49

      But you'd probably be one of the first to complain if there was no fish on the menu at your favourite supermarket or restaurant.

  • Tony Rockel
    June 12, 2013 - 14:32

    Typical of our wonderful, caring federal government. Maybe Peter McKay can swing by on one of his helicopter fishing trips and help free a few whales.