A 35- to 50-foot humpback whale, which was entangled in a fishing line off the coast of California, was rescued by marine experts on Saturday.
According to The Guardian, a whale-watching boat spotted the adult humpback whale in Newport Beach on Friday. They saw that the whale showed signs of distress. It appeared to be entangled from mouth to tail in buoys and ropes of a fishing line.
With the reports, the Orange County sheriff harbor patrol and whale disentanglement experts asked for help from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). They tracked the whale for hours in an attempt to rescue it immediately.
However, the site mentioned that according to local reports, the humpback whale “kept diving out of sight or trying to leap” which made it difficult for the experts to completely free it from its entanglement. The NOAA Team was only able to cut away 150 feet of rope.
NOAA whale rescue expert Justin Viezbicke told the site, “The rope is pretty embedded in the corners of the mouth and coming under the pectoral fin. Then one line goes over the tail, one comes under the tail and it’s in a big knot about 15ft behind the whale so that it’s difficult for it to move its tail. It’s pretty bad.”
Experts then returned the following day to continue the operation. As mentioned on Mail Online, by Saturday the humpback whale was spotted off La Jolla Cove in San Diego.
Kelly Terry, a spokeswoman for Sea World in San Diego, told the site that the Sea World team was able to cut more than 230 feet of remaining line. Some were still left in its mouth.
Viezbicke told the site that the NOAA team’s response network is ” is really just a Band-Aid.” He said that their rescue team was able to give experts some “identifying information” from what they were able to cut away from the entangled whale.
Their team has responded to 50 entangled whales since the start of the year.
“We’re looking for ways to be proactive and minimize these situations in the future,” Viezbicke added.
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