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Identifying marine mammals edges and length

I'm beginning to look into photogrammetry of marine mammals, basically measuring length and width, identifying health, body condition, etc. And as a first step I'm looking to do some basic edge detection to create a simple outline of an animal and then measure it from tail to nose. Typically this is done manually in programs like ImageJ and my plan is to do this automatically in python with OpenCV and I'm curious for recommended tools within OpenCV. I've gone through a good bit of the OpenCV tutorials, played around with some Canny edge detection (see image below) and tried to get a lay of the land but I'm curious if there are suggestions for tools, algorithms, and techniques for the two steps listed below:

  1. Get a continuous outline of an animal in the water
  2. Measure from the center of the tail to the center of the nose to get pixel distance

    image description