A humpback whale trapped in a salmon farm near Tofino has been freed, thanks to the quick actions of staff who discovered the marine mammal.

It happened at Cermaq Canada’s Millar Channel fish farm site near Tofino.

The company says staff noticed a healthy humpback whale in an empty sea cage on the morning of Sunday, December 2nd.

“We do know that the whale was in the cage system for less than 18 hours as the crew perform regular, proactive pen inspection several times throughout the day, including one late in the afternoon on December 1, 2018,”  Cermaq Canada Managing Director David Kiemele.

“There will be an investigation into how the whale entered into the cage system as the predator nets on sites are regularly inspected by divers to ensure there are no breaches or holes.”

Cermaq Canada says no salmon were in the cage and the whale wasn’t entangled in any equipment.

Two panels of the predator net were removed and the whale was able to swim free without incident.

“We are very thankful for the quick actions and thinking of our crew and everyone who responded to the calls so quickly,” says Kiemele. “Their fast action and thinking resulted in a positive outcome with no harm to the whale.”

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans is investigating the incident.

Tess van Straaten