Dead whale spotted off Cornish Coast identified as a humpback whale

14-03-21 Dead whale floating off Cornish coast- RNLI
A spokesman for Falmouth Coastguard said the animal appeared to be "snagged into place". Credit: RNLI

A dead whale spotted floating off the Cornish coast has been identified as a humpback whale.

The body of the animal near Looe was mistaken for an overturned yacht, which prompted a search and rescue mission on March 12.

Dan Jarvis of British Divers Marine Life Rescue identified the species of whale.

He said: "Sadly it's a humpback whale. We have had a number of sightings of them around the coast over the last few months, and I know of one that has been present consistently at the Isles of Scilly since new year. Sightings appear to be increasing in recent years."

Credit: RNLI

A spokesman for Falmouth Coastguard said the animal appeared to be "snagged into place".

Mr Jarvis added: "Entanglement is a significant issue with humpback whales and there are a lot of efforts going on to try and mitigate this."

At around 12:30pm on Friday, March 12, Falmouth Coastguard Operations Centre received a report of what looked like an overturned hull drifting in Looe Bay.

RNLI Looe Lifeboat Station was contacted and the lifeboat was launched to search for the 'boat'.

However, as the lifeboat crew approached the object, which was said to be drifting half a mile south-east of the Rannies cardinal market, they were able to see it was the decomposing carcass of a whale.

A spokesman for RNLI Looe Lifeboat Station said: "The whale was approximately 8m in length and at least 1.5m of the carcass was out of the water.

"After reporting their find and current position to the coastguards, our crew were stood down and returned to station."

"Our crew commented they were preparing themselves for the worst, as from a distance the object looked like the upturned hull of a yacht.

"Whilst they were relieved that there were no persons in difficulty, they were saddened to find a dead whale."

Cornwall Wildlife Trust has been informed about the animal.

In the meantime, if you see any dead marine life you should contact the trust's dedicated Strandings Hotline and report it.

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