The dead sperm whale was found earlier this month in Nova Scotia (Credit: Facebook/Marine Animal Response Society)

A dead sperm whale that washed up in Canada earlier this month was found to have a shocking amount of waste in its stomach.

The 14-meter-long whale, weighing 28 tons, washed ashore on a beach in Nova Scotia on November 5.

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It was reportedly seen unwell the day before.

When the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative and members of the province’s Department of Natural Resources and Renewable Energy performed an autopsy on the animal, they found a terrifying amount of fishing gear in its stomach.

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In total, the whale had consumed 150 kg of packaging, ropes, nets and gloves.

“We found a little bit of equipment and then it just went on and on,” said Tonya Wimmer, the director of the Marine Animal Response Society.

“We realized the full scope of what we were seeing was terrifying,” she said.

Sperm whales collect their food by diving deep to feed on squid and fish.

Their mouths act like a vacuum, absorbing whatever is on the seabed. Today, this includes more and more plastic waste that people dump into the sea.

“At this time, we do not know the nature or origin of the equipment, nor where or when the animal picked it up,” the Marine Animal Response Society wrote in a Facebook post.

“What we do know for sure is that the animal slowly died of starvation as a result.

“This is a clear reminder of the serious problem of debris and other plastic in our oceans, including lost, decayed and discarded fishing gear.”