Frontignan : the whale discovered off of Aresquiers is pulled off


L e corpse discovered near the Aresquiers has been towed, this Wednesday, to 120 km to the South-East, by the Bee Flanders.

This kind of missions, the Bee Flanders has not often had the opportunity to perform. In general, when it comes to anchor in the waters sétoises, it’s a big hit of tobacco advertisement. But Tuesday evening, it is for any reason other than the legendary tug-of-high-sea, which was for 26 years, in the Atlantic and the English Channel, the Saint-Bernard of the rail of Ouessant, and the Iroise sea before being based in 2005 in Toulon, sailed to our shores, it has reached to 23: 35.

No question blow up the corpse

The prefecture maritime has entrusted the task to evacuate our coastline-the corpse of a whale, discovered on Tuesday in the afternoon just a mile (1.8 km) off the beach of the Aresquiers. An impressive cetacean of more than 15 m long, discovered by accident during a dive by Guy Ruggiero, a member of the club “Aresquiers underwater”.

This is not the first time…

The last discovery of a massive corpse of a whale near our coast dates back to September 2013. Intrigued by a gabian, which seemed to have been set on the waves a mile out to sea in Sète, Alain, a fisherman-boater, it became clear that the bird was not perched on a afflurement natural, but on a dead whale. It was a young fin whale, measuring over ten meters.

The cause of his death was imputed, according to the first findings, by a collision with a boat. The noise of ships at sea is a source of great disturbance in the communication between males and females at the time of reproduction. A whale of this type had already been identified in 2012 to a mile off of Marseillan. On the side of the atlantic Ocean, just recently since it was on the 27th of October last, a corpse of fin whale was found stranded on a beach on the island of Ré.

Alerted, the Cross-Med has immediately forwarded the information to the maritime authorities as well as the Network Cetaceans (read below). Very quickly, an imperative is emerging. No question to leave the whale where it is, with the risk that, carried by the currents, they ran aground on the beach. If only for health reasons : the cetacean, including the causes of the deaths remain uncertain (see cons below), is in a state of decomposition. It measures, according to the maritime prefecture, “between 15 m and 20 m long”. And it must show on the balance not far from a dozen tons.


There was a time, not so far distant when such a draft would have been the subject of a blasting in the rule. Disposal in the “puzzle” that is no longer current to our days. Only solution : remove the animal by towing it more at large. It is the task which has been assigned, in a first time, a feature of the Customs, before the Bee Flanders comes in to take over. Once the corpse strapped in and attached to its stern, the tug set sail to the south. Destination, about 120 km, the waters traversed by the current ligure – where liguro-provençal – which form in the south to Genoa and then along the Côte d’azur and gulf of Lion.

air Surveillance

once the cetacean “filed” in this current, it will however not be forgotten. The maritime prefecture will closely monitor its movement, including using data from Meteo France on the calculation of the drift function of the currents – the same used in the case of water pollution. Aerial patrols of the Navy or Customs, which ensure the surveillance of the Mediterranean, will become “hooks” to assess the geographical location of the whale, and ensure that it will drift more towards the coast. And that she will eventually be engulfed by the Great blue to make the happiness of many sharks and fish…

“Difficult to know the cause of his death”

Renaud Dupuy de la Grandrive is the director of the marine protected area in the Capd’Agde and responsible Mediterranean network Cetaceans.

What can we say about this whale and the causes of his death ?

It may be a whale, the most widespread species in the Mediterranean. But this is not certain. This could be a sperm whale, other species the most present. It is quite rare to find so close to our coastline. You look rather to the areas where they feed, near the Vermeille Coast and the Catalan coast, in large pits. But they breed elsewhere.

As to the causes of death, it is difficult to establish with certainty. It may be due to a collision with a ship, a sickness, a virus, or just old age. One thing is for sure, this whale came from the sea and drifted toward our coast.

How does one whale today in the Mediterranean ?

It is estimated that the population of humpback whales, the most widespread species in the Mediterranean, with between 3 000 and 4 000 individuals. It appears to be stable.


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