Missing whale found dead on Dutch beach

Missing whale found dead on Dutch beach
Photo: Annie Douglas/Southwest Fisheries Science Center

The corpse of a fin whale that was spotted off the Belgian coast at Nieuwpoort last week has turned up just over the border in Westkapelle in the Netherlands.

The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus) is one of the largest sea creatures, second only to the blue whale. The Nieuwpoort example measured just short of 14 metres, but the species can grow up to 27 metres.

The dead whale was first spotted on Saturday, drifting towards Zeebrugge before disappearing from view.

It was speculated the corpse may have sunk, but on Sunday it was reported that the whale had beached in the Netherlands. The Belgian authorities called off their search.

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It will now be up to the Dutch authorities to dispose of the carcass.

The fin whale is one of the ten species making up the Balaenopteridae family, which range in size from the blue whale at 180 tonnes to the Northern minke whale at a mere nine tonnes. The Northern fin whale ranges in size from 18.5m in males to 20m in the female.

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