Posted by: The ocean update | October 10, 2015

Entangled fin whale spotted near Dana Point (California, USA)

A fin whale swims off the coast of Los Angeles. These whales can get up to 70-feet long and weigh up to 150,000-lb, making it the second largest animal on earth. MAE RYAN/KPCC

A fin whale swims off the coast of Los Angeles. These whales can get up to 70-feet long and weigh up to 150,000-lb, making it the second largest animal on earth. MAE RYAN/KPCC

October 10th, 2015 (Ashley Bailey with Redmond Carolipio). Marine authorities have dispatched a team to help an entangled adult fin whale found about 2 miles off the coast of Dana Point.

“It’s supposedly pretty tied up … [it] has a line through the mouth,” said Jim Milbury, spokesman for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA is coordinating with Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which sent the team, along with Sea World and other agencies to investigate the situation. Fishermen spotted the whale Friday morning.

Upon reaching the whale, the entanglement team will assess what can be done to help, which includes deciding what kind of tracking equipment to use, Milbury told KPCC, adding that attaching a tracking buoy to the whale could actually make things worse. There are also other things to consider, he said.

“We know the animal is moving, and we have to make sure it doesn’t get too far offshore, because in small boats the sea can get rough, so we have to be concerned with safety as well.”

It’s been an unusual year for whale entanglements. Milbury said this year’s 42 whale entanglements are about twice as many as NOAA witnessed from the previous year. Most of the tangled whales are the ones that travel closer to shore, like humpbacks and grey whales.

One of the entangled whales was a blue whale that was spotted in early September off Santa Catalina Island. Milbury said the last NOAA heard of that whale was that it traveled into Mexican waters, and they haven’t been able to track it since.

“We don’t know what happened to it,” he said. (Ed Sibylline : she has been seen in Mexico a few days later. Sibylline Oceans called the Mexican Navy for her rescue but they didn’t answer !)

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