Thursday, May 1, 2014

A WHALE OF A TALE: PROVINCE NEEDS TO STEP UP

Trout River and Rocky Harbour have a whale of a problem and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans is not at all sympathetic.

Pleas for help in removing the carcasses of two giant 81 ft Blue Whales that beached in the two tourist towns located in Gros Morne  National Park have not been heeded by provincial or federal authorities.

The endangered Blue whale is the largest animals on the planet.

Residents are already complaining about the powerful stench which is only going to worsen with the warmer weather. The towns are  also concerned that the bloating whale might explode! Imagine the macabre sight of blubber and huge chunks of whale came raining down on the community.

The concerned marine science communicators at Upwell and Southern Fried Science have created a website devoted to monitoring this situation:
HasTheWhaleExplodedYet.com

I can understand that the feds and the province are haggling over jurisdiction. Money is tight. At this point both seem to be saying that the both whales are issues for the municipalities that were unfortunate enough to be hosting the rotting remains.

However, both whales are in populated communities, not some remote beach! In addition, these towns, with the exception of a few fishing jobs, are dependent on seasonal tourism for their existence. 

Tourism on the Great Northern Peninsula is about a $60 million industry. According to the Red Ochre Regional Board Strategic Plan for 2008-2011, Gros Morne National Park (and area) tourism provided employment for 1,320 annual/seasonal workers in retail sectors that benefit from tourist visits. Nearly 200,000 people visited Gros Morne National Park annually.

It is an economic miracle, let alone an economic engine for the region. It is time for government agencies to stop paying the jurisdiction game and work together together to assist these two small municipalities with this problem before it impacts the vital tourism industry. 

We have money for new cabinet ministers, to assist well connected tory connected companies, patronage, largesse and nepotism. Surely the government can step up and help these communities!

For the record, here is a video report of the  Oregon whale explosion of 1970 . The video has become one of the most-watched Internet videos in history.



 
UPDATE: MAY/02/14
VOCM IS REPORTING:

The rotting blue whale carcasses that washed ashore in western Newfoundland will soon have a new home. The Royal Ontario Museum announced yesterday they reached a deal to facilitate the recovery of two of the blue whale skeletons. A team led by Dr. Mark Engstrom will be travelling to Rocky Harbour and Trout River to preserve the skeletons and collect tissue samples. Engstrom says it will be no small task. He says the whales will have to be flanged on site and the blubber and muscle will have to be buried. Then he says the skeleton will be dissected and loaded up into containers to be driven back.
 

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