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Normandy fisherman films orca whale 30kms off Channel coastline

The rare sight comes just weeks after a humpback whale was also spotted in the sea off Normandy

The orca was sighted and filmed off the coast of Normandy. Photo for illustration Pic: Alessandro De Maddalena / Shutterstock

A professional fisherman has posted a clip of a killer whale spotted about 30kms off the coast of Grandcamp-Maisy in Calvados, Normandy. It comes just weeks after an amateur sailor shared a video of a humpback whale spotted off nearby Courseulles-sur-Mer.

The new video was captured by Clément Thomas, captain of the ATLAS trawler.

In the clip, the orca’s dorsal fin can be seen moving through the water before its head breaks through the surface as it approaches the boat. The size and fin shape of the animal show that it is a male. 

The whale was spotted around 30km off the coast, according to Gecc, the Groupe d’étude des cétacés du Cotentin et des mammifères marins de la mer de la Manche (Research group for the cetaceans of Cotentin and the marine mammals of the Channel).

Killer whales are a very rare sight in the seas around Normandy, and one of the last images of such a creature in the water dates back to 2013.

“Orcas normally live in a group; it is not very common that you will find them alone,” said Gérard Mauger, the vice president of Gecc.

“The Channel is a corridor between the North Sea and the Atlantic so I think that there have always been [orcas there].”

“We have the impression that this phenomenon is more common, but nowadays [people take] more images and they circulate more, so we don’t have any scientific [proof],” he added. 

It is not clear why the orca was in the Channel on its own, but Mr Mauger added that he was grateful to the fisherman, who are: “a task force for us: they are always on the water, which gives us a better idea of what is going on, how things are evolving.” 

The Gecc invites anyone who spots an interesting sight in the Channel to call 07 66 17 50 48 to report it.

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