Posted by: The ocean update | June 24, 2015

Beached Whale Pulled Back into Ocean (Iceland)

Photo : West Iceland Institute of Natural History

Photo : West Iceland Institute of Natural History

June 24th, 2015. The carcass of a fin whale which beached on the island Stakksey off Stykkishólmur, West Iceland, last weekend, was pulled back into Breiðafjörður fjord on Sunday evening. The carcass sank to the sea on its own, eliminating the use of explosives.

Around 20 people took part in the operation, which went smoothly, as described by Einar Þór Strand, divisional manager of search and rescue on Snæfellsnes to ruv.is. A rope was tied around the whale’s tail and the rescue vessel from Rif was used to pull it into the ocean.

The fin whale, which was 17 meters (56 feet) long, was alive when it beached but it died before people could reach it. Judging by its size, the whale was a young animal. It likely died due to injury or a disease (Ed Sibylline : no necropsy performed, so no answer to know what was the real reason of the stranding).

A sample was taken from the carcass and will be sent to the Icelandic Marine Research Institute for testing.

According to the West Iceland Institute of Natural History, it’s rare that living baleen whales beach. It’s also rare to see fin whales off Stykkishólmur as they usually keep to areas of an ocean depth of 400 meters (1,312 feet) or more.

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