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Photo: Wabicc Sierra Leone

Abidjan, 26th September 2018 – Whales washing ashore are becoming more and more recurrent in the sub region. After the episode of the dead whale found on Aneho’s beach in Togo last April ( it is now the turn of a forty feet long whale found in the waters adjacent Baw Baw coastal village along Freetown, in Sierra Leone. The incident occurred on 18th September 2018.

Speaking to Mr. Paul Lamin, the Abidjan Convention Focal Point in Sierra Leone, who shared the information, the preliminary investigation revealed that after struggling the whole night, it was suspected that the whale was extremely exhausted, and it was washed towards the beach.

According to fisher folks, the whale was entangled in a net deployed by artisanal fishermen. For one Mr. Val whose boat was used to rescue the fishermen who caught the whale, this was the first that was brought alive ashore -they used to have dead whales drifted ashore over the past years. Unfortunately, the number of incidences is not yet known, and years of incidences are not specified.

With the features, the mammal is to be a “Humpback Whale”; it was said that, according to its size, this was not an adult whale.

Having heard about the incidence, the Ministry of fisheries and marine resources visited the scene and requested that they immediately release the suffering animal.

Unlike the one caught and machete-cut in Togo by the population, nobody was allowed to consume the meat. The Ministry of Fisheries took the lead to conduct intensive sensitization and facilitated the burial of the dead whale.

The Abidjan Convention Secretariat supports the Ministry in his decision to bring to the notice of the public that the meat of a dead whale has high concentration of mercury, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls (pcb’s) and other heavy metals that accumulate in the liver, the nervous system leading to heart disease and memory loss and is therefore declared very dangerous to human health.

The public (industrial fishermen and artisanal fishermen) is therefore advised to release any marine mammals incidentally caught in their nets or help save any whale that is beached accidentally at shore.

Vanessa Ahouadjiro/Diagana Abdoulaye