Over the weekend, a humpback whale was spotted entangled in lines used to catch crab and lobster. The lines wrapped around both the whale’s mouth and tail, while cutting into its body. Trained rescue crews were able to reach the whale, but they were not able to completely free it. Before the whale swam away, the crews were able to place a GPS device on it, which should help them locate the whale to continue to freeing process.
In a statement, David Schofield of the NOAA Fisheries reported: “Currently, it is regarded as a life-threatening entanglement. The line is embedded in the body in certain places because of the drag, and so it’s one of the more difficult cases to work with.”
“After attempts to disentangle the whale, a final action was taken to cut the whale free of gear,” Ed Lyman, Large Whale Entanglement Response Coordinator with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, told Maui Now.
“Responders must always weigh the risk to personnel and potential further harm to the entangled whale. If the entangled whale is located again, the network is prepared to respond,” continued Lyman.
While it’s believed the whale got tangled in the lines off the coast of British Columbia, the response team should be able to use the recovered lines to pinpoint precisely where the whale got snarled and use that information to prevent future entanglements from occurring in the area.
Should you spot the whale, please call 888-256-9840.
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