This photo shows the fresh, deep gash on a humpback whale. Photo courtesy Peter Hamilton/Lifeforce Ocean Friends

Injured humpback whale spotted near Comox

Fresh gash on juvenile possibly caused by boat prop

An injured humpback whale has a local conservationist concerned.

Peter Hamilton, of Lifeforce Ocean Friends, said he first spotted the juvenile swimming alone on July 8, in the Georgia Strait, about a mile off Cape Lazo, near Comox.

“I was out, and I saw this one humpback alone, doing very shallow surfacing, which I thought was a little unusual, so I observed [it] for a while and saw some injuries on its side,” said Hamilton. “Eventually he or she swam close to the boat and I got a photo of a very deep cut, exposing part of the spine, between the dorsal fin and the tail.”

Hamilton was unsure of the cause of the injury.

“It could have been a prop, or it could have been an entanglement, but there was no reports of anyone untangling a humpback,” he said. “The cut itself looked like it could have been done by a boat prop, but there were other marks that looked like they could have been rope burns.

“I’ve been in communication with Jackie [Hildering] at MERS (Marine Education and Research Society), trying to determine the injury. Hopefully we can determine the cause of the injury soon.”

Hamilton said he saw the whale again two days later, this time swimming with another whale.

“That is hopeful, seeing it with another whale. It was kind of worrisome, seeing one humpback alone, with such a severe, fresh wound.”

In May, photos surfaced online of an injured humpback in Howe Sound. That injury was suspected to have been caused by a boat propeller.

“There is a lot of human activity on the waters, which makes it hazardous for the whales,” said Hamilton. “Unfortunately, the new regulations did not increase the distance boaters have to keep from humpbacks. It should be at least 200 metres.”

RELATED: New regulations call for more distance between boats and whales

New regulations imposed this week stipulate boats must remain 200 metres from all killer whales in B.C. The regulated distance from humpbacks remains 100 metres.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Island College alum goes from refugee to full scholarship winner

Submitted by NIC North Island College alumnus Jack Basha is preparing to… Continue reading

Independent school to open in the Comox Valley

A new school is opening in the Comox Valley. Local educators and… Continue reading

Nanwakolas Council makes donation to North Island College to support First Nation students

The money was raised at the 2019 Nanwakolas golf tournament.

North Island College launches virtual orientation

New and returning North Island College students are being welcomed to the… Continue reading

Courtenay-Alberni MP requests expanded application period for fish harvester benefits

Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns is asking the federal government to offer a… Continue reading

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Most Read