Fin whales found washed up on French beaches

Posted by Sinaue Mvumbi on 18 November 2020

At least six fin whales have been found washed up on the western shores of France in the last six weeks. The latest was found on Friday, November 13 near Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez.

The whale measured nearly 16 meters long and weighed an estimated 10 tonnes. Marine biologists dissected one of the cetaceans in an attempt to find the cause of the deaths after a ship strike was ruled out.

Experts believe the whales were malnourished and show evidence of hemorrhaging in the cardiac and respiratory systems. This could be caused by humans by impacting food availability or polluting the living environment, which could expose the whales to opportunistic diseases, according to Al Jazeera. 


Fin whales, also known as finback whales and formerly known as a herring whales or razorback whales, are baleen whales. It is the second-largest species on Earth after the blue whale.

On average, about three to 10 fin whales are found dead on France’s beaches per year. Willy Dabin, a researcher from the Pelagis Observatory, told Reuters news agency: ‘We have what is almost an epidemic or, at any rate, an abnormal spike in deaths’.

These large creatures normally up to 80 tonnes, with a life span of 80 to 90 years. Common threats to this species ate entangled to fishing gear, ship strikes, overfishing, and ocean noise.

During the 90’s, commercial whaling was popular in the Southern Hemisphere and fin whale populations were nearly destroyed.

Today, these whales are listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act and depleted under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

There are only an estimated 100,000 fin whales left in the world.

Picture: Twitter/promuzi






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