A local municipal councillor said the animal was reported early Wednesday morning. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans emergency marine team will attempt to free it.
Andrew Reid, coordinator of the Marine Animal Response Society, is on his way to Cape Breton to assess the situation. He said that although he hasn't seen the whale for himself, descriptions provided from the scene lead him to suspect it's a minke whale.
The minke whale is a relatively small species of whale common in Atlantic waters, although Reid said they're less common at this time of year. They're the second smallest species of baleen, or filter-feeding whales, and usually reach about seven metres in length.
Reid suspects the whale may have come in close to shore to feed and then become trapped by the ebbing tide. He said that in shallow water it's difficult for these creatures to navigate using sonar. They often get confused and are unable to make their way back out to open water.
He said once on the scene, the response team will assess the animal. If it appears healthy, an attempt will be made to "re-float" it and move it back out to sea.