Three grey whales have washed up in Haida Gwaii in the past two weeks. (Tanya Alton)

UPDATE: 3 grey whales wash up on B.C. coast in uptick from previous years

Several whales have died in B.C. already this year

Three grey whales have washed up on the shores of Haida Gwaii in the past couple weeks.

Tanya Alton posted photos of the three dead whales on Facebook.

One was found on East Beach, another in Tlell last week and one at Jungle Beach.

A Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesperson said five grey whales have washed up along B.C.’s coast so far this year, and all in April and May.

It “is an upward trend from recent years,” Lara Sloan said.

In Washington state, 13 have washed ashore so far this year.

The department has completed necropsies on three of the whales so far: one that washed up off the coast of Sidney, one off the western coast of Vancouver Island and one of the ones that washed up on Haida Gwaii. Another Haida Gwaii whale necropsy will be completed this afternoon and one of the whales was too decomposed to necropsy.

The eastern north Pacific grey whale population is considered as being of special concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, and is listed as such under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2005.

Sloan urged people to report marine mammals in distress in Canadian waters by calling the Marine Mammal Incident Reporting Hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

Boaters must stay 100 metres away from whales and other marine animals and 400 metres from killer whales. Sloan said disturbing the animals is an offences under the Fisheries Act.

READ MORE: Dead grey whale on Washington State beach to be towed away

READ MORE: Necropsy of grey whale near Victoria rules out plastic poisoning

READ MORE: Grey whales make ‘pit stop’ in White Rock, expert says

READ MORE: A happy ending: Two grey whales stranded in Boundary Bay headed back to sea


@katslepian

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