CKNW News Talk 980, Nov 18, 2015 (emphasis added): The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is looking into the death of three fin whales near Bella Bella on BC’s central coast… Paul Cottrel with the DFO says a multiple death like this is extremely unusual. “We just get one or two a year, and usually never in the same area like this, or on the same beach which is even more rare. So that’s why it’s definitely a very unique situation.” He says all three whales were juvenile males, two of them likely younger than two-years-old… He says there were no bite marks on the carcasses, or any signs of boat strike either. Cottrel says the DFO conducted a necropsy, but found no obvious cause of death.
Vancouver Sun Nov 19, 2015: The recent deaths of three young fin whales near Bella Bella are causing concern after a summer that saw an unusual spike in large whale deaths… “Fin whales are listed as threatened under the Species at Risk Act, so every animal is extremely important to the population. Seeing three together, obviously it’s disturbing and we want to find out what happened,” Cottrell said. He added that it’s very unusual for baleen whales like fins to die in groups… Samples have been taken from the whales’ stomachs and colons… The results of lab tests may take a while, though, because of a backlog caused by a pulse of large whale deaths this summer along the West Coast of North America. “We’re really working everybody pretty hard, and these three fin whales doesn’t lessen the load at all,” Cottrell said. Four humpback whales were found dead in a single week in B.C. waters in August, and as of this week, five fin whale carcasses have been discovered. One sperm whale and one grey whale have also died this year. Meanwhile, more than 30 large whales have died off the coast of Alaska. Scientists have yet to determine why so many whales have died… Scientists are also testing for radionucleotides to see if radioactivity was a factor.
Full article: Giant whales found piled up dead on west coast beach — Second largest animals on planet — Official: “It’s never happened… Extremely unusual… Very rare and odd… We want to know why” — Gov’t scientists testing for Fukushima radiation — Backlog at lab due to so many recent deaths (PHOTOS) (ENENEWS)