South Surrey resident Bill Kitching prepares to untangle a dolphin from a crab trap line in Semiahmoo Bay. Kitching and his wife Cheryl came to the aid of the obviously exhausted creature while out sailing Saturday afternoon (June 9).

South Surrey resident Bill Kitching prepares to untangle a dolphin from a crab trap line in Semiahmoo Bay. Kitching and his wife Cheryl came to the aid of the obviously exhausted creature while out sailing Saturday afternoon (June 9).

More worries for marine-life welfare in White Rock area

Couple recounts helping dolphin caught in line days before whale’s death

A few days before a young humpback whale got tangled up in a fishing line and died on White Rock’s beach on June 12, another marine mammal narrowly escaped the same fate.

South Surrey residents Bill and Cheryl Kitching were sailing in the same waters on Saturday, June 9, when they noticed a dolphin had been snagged by a crab trap buoy line.

“We were probably about half a mile west of the pier,” Bill Kitching told Peace Arch News last week after the humpback story broke.

“I saw something black in the water. It looked like it was struggling.”

Kitching, an experienced sailor and 45-year resident of the Semiahmoo Peninsula, thought it might be a mud shark.

When the couple came about for closer look, they realized it was a dolphin, about 4½ feet long, that had become entangled in the buoy line.

“It was clearly exhausted,” Bill Kitching said.

So exhausted that he was able to pull the  dolphin’s tail out of the water and uncoil the line with no resistance, he said.

“The rope was wrapped around the dolphin’s tail probably 10 times,” Kitching said.

There were obvious signs of chafing to indicate the dolphin had been trying to get free for some time.

“It could have been there a couple of days,” he said.

Cheryl Kitching said the dolphin seemed to be in a state of shock.

“We were concerned about whether he would survive or not as he seemed very worn out,” she said.

The couple returned to the scene several times in the hours after the release, and each time the dolphin seemed to be getting a little stronger.

Finally it “just kind of floated away,” Bill Kitching said.

The couple high-fived each other.

“We felt good about that,” he said.

The buoy that the dolphin got tangled up in wasn’t properly marked, suggesting it was an illicit trap.

Fisheries and Oceans regulations state all buoys attached to “recreational shellfish traps” must be clearly marked with the operator’s name in printed solid black capital letters at least 75 millimetres high.

If they aren’t, the DFO may remove them from the water.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tanvi Pandhi, a Grade 12 student at Fleetwood Park Secondary, took part in the Surrey school district’s survey of students in grades 10 to 12, with a focus on health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Surrey students voice concerns about mask wearing, distancing in schools

Surrey school district has been surveying students in grades 10 to 12

Cambridge Elementary School music teacher Darlene Lourenco is “on the mend” after contracting COVID-19. She had a two-week stay at Surrey Memorial Hospital, including in the ICU. (Photo: submitted)
Surrey music teacher at home after two-week hospital stay battling COVID-19

Meantime, Surrey Teachers’ Association sends letter with safety demands to board of education

The Peninsula Community Foundation is set to host an online poker fundraiser on Dec. 11. (Unsplash photo)
Peninsula Community Foundation plans online poker tournament for charity

December fundraiser to feature pair of Surrey/White Rock poker pros

Lacey, a palomino paint, is in “amazing” shape now, compared to when she was rescued in August 2015. (Leanne Peniuk photo)
BC SPCA’s horse-rescue program offers equine intervention

Book Rescue Me raises funds, awareness for animal-welfare agency

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Kevin Bieksa during his days playing with the Vancouver Canucks. (Photo: commons.wikimedia.org)
Bieksa to guest on free Canucks Alumni ‘Hot Stove’ on Zoom app

Former NHL player has become a game analyst on Sportsnet

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Most Read