The Town of Trout River is looking for help in dealing with a dead blue whale that washed up on the town’s beach.
Town clerk/manager Emily Butler said by phone Tuesday afternoon that the town is lobbying the provincial government and has been in contact with both the Department of Environment and Service NL.
A DFO scientist warns there are health risks associated with the presence of dead blue whales. — Photo by Mark Tsang
“Until we get some definite answers back, this still remains a situation that we haven’t been given a final solution on,” she said.
Butler said removal of the whale could be costly, but the call for help is not about the town trying to get money out of the provincial or federal governments.
“This is about the fact that this whale is blowing up on the beach. It has gases trapped inside of it,” she said of the concerns over the hazard the nearly 85-foot long and 80-tonne animal creates.
Butler said the first thought was to ask local fishermen to tow it away with a longliner.
“I’m not willing to take on the responsibility,” she said. “If that whale does explode, we don’t know what danger that would be to our infrastructure, the longliner itself, or to people.”
Added to that is the concern the whale, in its current inflated state, could interfere with navigation.
But with tourism season fast approaching, she said the town is worried about the impact it could have on businesses.
“We have a number of businesses down on the waterfront there that certainly don’t want to be seeing this much longer because of the smell and the safety concern.”
Butler said the whale is creating a lot of interest within and outside the community.
She said the phone at the town hall has been ringing off the hook with people calling wanting to come to the town and have their picture taken with the whale.
And she’s really fearful of people going around it, and getting up on it, because of the possibility it may explode or the unknown diseases or germs it could carry.
However, she said the town won’t barricade the area.
“It is a public area ... but in our opinion if we were to barricade this area off we would be assuming responsibility for it.”
The Western Star