Town Tries to Sell Dead Whale on eBay

Fears stench may become unbearable

May 6, 2014
Outside Magazine

This humpback whale isn't dead now, but one day it very well could be.    Wikimedia Commons

When life gives you dead whales, make tourism. So goes the saying in Trout River, Newfoundland, where a dead whale washed up last week. Four hours away, in Cape St. George, the locals don't consider their own 40-foot dead sperm whale to be as much of a blessing. Fearing that the stench of creeping death might become overwhelming and having so far been unable to will the carcass to leave of its own accord à la Weekend At Bernie's, residents of Cape St. George turned to eBay to find a buyer for their bloated buddy.

Thus far, Canada's fisheries department has declined to assist the town of 1,000 in its quest for whale removal. "[They] didn't offer any suggestions about what to do with it and didn't offer assistance," said Mayor Peter Fenwick. "They just said, 'You have to get rid of it,' so we decided to list it on eBay." But what exactly would a buyer do with the body of a 40-foot maven of the seas? One possibility, per Fenwick's suggestion, would be to put its skeleton in a museum, where it would make a fine addition to any collection.

Unfortunately for Fenwick and Cape St. George residents, eBay forbids the selling of animals, dead or alive, and the listing was removed. The buzz around the carcass auction also attracted the attention of federal officials, who informed Fenwick that it was illegal to sell the dead whale in any capacity. 

Undeterred, Fenwick said the town is going to "have a look at the regulations and see if there is any way around that."

When life gives you dead whales, make legislation. 

Not Now

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