DFO confirms second endangered blue found dead in Gulf of St. Lawrence

The body of an endangered blue whale, shown in this undated handout image, has come ashore along the western coast of Cape Breton, prompting suggestions a necropsy be carried out to determine the animal's cause of death. THE CANADIAN PRESSS/HO-Marine Animal Response Society-Elizabeth Zwamborn)

The federal Fisheries Department is confirming a second blue whale death last month in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and is again saying an examination of the cause will not be possible.

The blue whale carcass was reported to the department Sept. 7 by a cargo ship and confirmed by Transport Canada and Fisheries Department aircraft about 110 kilometres north of Gaspesie.

The department says·it was able to identify the species from photos, but officials determined a necropsy wasn't feasible due to the advanced state of decomposition.

Spokesman Barre Campbell says in an email the animal's large size and distance from shore also factored into the decision.

The department had earlier reported a dead juvenile blue whale found on Sept. 18 just northwest of Port Hood, N.S., in Cape Breton, saying a full necropsy wasn't possible in that case either.

A spokesman said this was because the whale's body was decomposed and in an inaccessible location, and there wasn't a suitable vessel available to tow the whale when it was first discovered.