Dead whale found in Mississippi Sound waters near the Gulf Coast beaches in Pass Christian, Miss. oon Saturday, Jan. 7, 2022. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner –

A week after a deceased dolphin was found on the shores of the Pass Christian beaches, a whale corpse was reported nearly 200 yards south of the beach across from Henderson Park.

The body of a finback whale was discovered by the Institute of Marine Mammal Studies (IMMS) Saturday morning, January 7, 2023.  Even though the species is somewhat common in the Gulf of Mexico, endangered whale doesn’t come this close to the beach, according to Dr. Moby Solangi, director of the IMMS.

“The whale is 30 feet long and weighs between 12-15,000 pounds,” said Solangi.  “The mammal was probably sick and the body got caught in a ship channel.”

Once the body is transported inland, a necropsy will be done to determine the specifics.

The fin whale’s body is long and slender, coloured brownish-grey with a paler underside. At least two recognized subspecies exist, in the North Atlantic.  It is found in all the major oceans.

Like all other large whales, the fin whale was heavily hunted during the 20th century.

Pass Christian Mayor Jimmy Rafferty has attempted to aid IMMS for recovery after the area is blocked off.  Around 4:30pm Saturday late afternoon, the huge mammal was brought in by the Pass Christian Fire Department, the Harrison County Utility Authority, IMMS, Pass Christian Police, and others.

“The city has the Police, Fire Rescue, and Public Works out here providing assistance to IMMS and NOAA,” expressed Rafferty.  “Dr. Moby said it is urgent to get the body in to determine the cause of death.”

The Finback whale is brownish or light gray dorsally and white ventrally. The left side of the head is dark gray, while the right side exhibits a complex pattern of contrasting light and dark markings. On the right lower jaw is a white or light gray “right mandible patch”, which sometimes extends out as a light “blaze” laterally and dorsally unto the upper jaw and back to just behind the blowholes.