Posted by: The ocean update | June 17, 2015

Tangled Dolphin Rescued in Santa Barbara Channel (California, USA)

June 17th, 2015 (John Palminteri). SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A long beaked common dolphin, entangled in an abandoned line in the Santa Barbara Channel, is free tonight after being saved by a rescue team.

Captain Dave Beezer from the Condor Express and his friend Pete Summers were alerted to the struggling mammal that had been watched for hours by workers on oil Platform “C” off the coast.  “They said they had seen a dolphin that they had been watching for the better part of the day. It looked like it was entangled in some rope or line or  something,” said Beezer.

Using a smaller boat to get up next to the dolphin, Beezer and Summers realized a polypropylene line was around a fin and through its mouth.

This line reached down an estimated 200 feet to the ocean floor and was snagged there, keeping the dolphin in one place, where it was exhausted.

Beezer is certified to rescue cetaceans and has specific knives and poles that can reach out to cut them free when they are caught in fishing lines or floating ropes.

He was able to slowly pull the line and dolphin closer, make the cut and move the old line away.

He said it was an adult dolphin.

“The line went through the mouth and around the pectoral fin of the dolphin,” said Beezer. “The dolphin was unable to release itself.  Luckily it was exhausted enough   that we were able to pull it over to the boat.”

After the rescue,  the dolphin stayed on the surface for a few moments, then swam away.

Beezer says it did not appear as if the mammal had any permanent damage.

In the past few years, Beezer has been involved in whale rescues as well, including one humpback whale that was tracked from the coast of Monterey County to Santa Barbara waters with a line around a  fin.  It was also rescued when special gear was used to cut the line, and allow the whale to swim normally.

The work is coordinated through the Channel Islands Marine Wildlife Institute.  Those involved are specially trained and have regular meetings to discuss the marine mammal environment along with recent rescues.

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