‘Incredible’ video shows white sharks eating dead whale off N.S. coast

Click to play video: 'White sharks spotted eating whale carcass'
White sharks spotted eating whale carcass
Nova Scotians living on the province's south shore captured nature at work this weekend – as multiple white sharks were caught feasting on a humpback whale carcass. As Megan King reports, the video is a prime example of the circle of life in action – Jul 8, 2024

A few boaters enjoying an afternoon outing off the coast of Port Mouton, N.S., were in awe this weekend when an alarming sight appeared a short distance away — as four white sharks were caught feasting on a dead humpback whale in the nearby water.

Bill Vienneau, a fisherman who lives in the area, said he went out on his boat in search of the whale on Friday afternoon after hearing that a large animal was floating nearby.

Although it didn’t take him long to spot the whale, he wasn’t the first to take notice.

“As soon as I came up on it and turned the boat around, there was one (shark) that latched on it right away,” he said during an interview with Global News on Monday.

“I’m as shark-crazy as anybody else, I guess. You don’t get to see them very often, so when there’s an opportunity, you go watch them.”

Story continues below advertisement

Shortly after, a video of the sharks was uploaded to Facebook — as people received access to the spectacle that occurred just metres outside of Vienneau’s boat, attracting widespread attention online.

Vienneau said out of the four white sharks devouring the deceased whale, he estimated the largest to be measured at about 14 feet — nearly equivalent to the size of his vessel.

“When it comes up right next to your boat, it’s pretty impressive. They’re a wild looking animal,” he continued, acknowledging that witnessing such an occurrence might’ve been a once-in-a-lifetime experience for him.

“It’s not very often that a whale lands in your backyard and is just there floating around. And mother nature is doing its thing, cycle of life. So, it’s not going to waste. The sharks are taking care of what’s there.”

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.

Get daily National news

Get the day's top news, political, economic, and current affairs headlines, delivered to your inbox once a day.
By providing your email address, you have read and agree to Global News' Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Shark sightings occurring across the province

Tonya Wimmer, an executive director at the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS), said her organization initially received a report on July 2 about the dead whale floating through the area.

“It wasn’t too close to shore (at the time). We don’t have boats and the resources to go out, collect the carcass, and do more when they’re out floating at sea like that,” she said.

As for the sharks, Wimmer described the footage as “incredible.”

Story continues below advertisement

Although it might be off-putting to some, she said the deceased whale is offering valuable nutrients to its underwater neighbours.

“When a whale passes and is in the ocean, as mother nature intends, they actually become really important food sources for other animals,” she said.

“That’s what we’re seeing with these white sharks. They are a species that are known to eat on a wide range of prey, and it’s been well-documented that they will feed on a fresh whale carcass.”

She said during past discoveries of dead whales in the area, whether it’s along the Bay of Fundy or into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, it hasn’t been uncommon to locate bite wounds on the carcass.

“It does happen quite often in some places if, of course, there are sharks in those area,” she said.

Wimmer said white sharks are the largest shark species in Nova Scotia waters and frequently feed on fish, whales, and seals.

“White sharks in Canada are an endangered species. They’re actually in quite low numbers compared to what they used to be,” she said, adding that researchers are increasingly conducting studies regarding the viability of white sharks in Maritime waters.

Wimmer said shark reports have been “sporadic” in the last few years and aren’t overwhelmingly limited to one location.

Story continues below advertisement

“What we’ve been seeing in recent years is that there’s been more and more of these animals appearing,” she said, adding that sightings have occurred in the Bay of Fundy, southwestern Nova Scotia, outside of Halifax, and Cape Breton.

“It’s all sort of indications that the numbers (of sharks) might be ticking up and the animals might be making more use of the habitat around here.”

In circumstances similar to what Vienneau witnessed on Friday, Wimmer said the best course of action when observing a wild animal feeding is quite straightforward — “you leave them to it.”

“It’s really just something to observe from a distance,” she said.

With files from Megan King and Jake Webb

Sponsored content