The whale drew much public and media attention. Pic: Perry O’Donovan / West Cork Times

THE fin whale which has been stranded in Baltimore Harbour for the past two days has died.

In a statement, Dr Simon Berrow, Executive Officer, of the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) said that after the heavy thrashing witnessed, and filmed at about 11am this morning that the whale is now dead.

“The IWDG have been talking to the Naval Service and the Army about attempting to shoot the whale and logistics were being put in place for this evening, so fortunately the issue has been resolved.

“The IWDG will be meeting with representatives of the Defence Forces, NPWS and Local Authorities to attempt to put in place a protocol on how to deal with this situation in the future.

“We have done this in the past but clearly this needs to be revisited.

“This has been an unprecedented event, given its location, but whale populations are increasing and whales will die and no doubt we will be faced with a similar situation again in the future.

“The IWDG wish to thank all those who helped and supported us in our attempt to address this situation and encourage those who have been following the incident to join us and get involved.”

Hundreds of people descended on the village to witness the 18-metre at close quarters, something that has drawn criticism from some wildlife groups who claimed it could place more undue stress on the animal.

Fin Whales are the second largest of whale species after the Blue Whale and can grow up to 25 metres in length.

It is now planned to transport the carcass to the Waterford Institute of Technology were it will be used for marine research.