Posted by: The ocean update | January 5, 2016

Sailors recue whale caught un fishing gear (Canary Islands, Spain)

Rescue of an entangled whale in Fuerteventura

Rescue of an entangled whale in Fuerteventura

January 5th, 2016. Canary Island sailor César Espino is perfectly at home out on the archipelago’s crystal clear waters – but a recent trip out at sea took an unexpected turn when he and his shipmates encountered a 45-foot (13.7 m) Bryde’s whale (Ed Sibylline : in the spanish article, they speak about a fin whale, but it’s probably a Rudolphi’s whale, based on details in the video… and so thin that we are not really optimist about its future, unfortunately) in need of rescue. 

The whale was badly tangled in abandoned fishing gear, which had wrapped around its mouth and tail fluke. “As we approached the longline and saw it breathing, we realised it was entangled in the rope,” he told Canarias News 7. “I quickly jumped in the water and let the whale see me. I knew I was going to try to free her. I felt sorry for her, so I did not hesitate.”

The fishing lines, which were tethered to an anchored buoy, were preventing the large animal from diving. “The rope near the mouth was like the reins of a horse,” he said. “It was quite difficult to take it off.”

After an hour of cutting and countless dives, Espino managed to free the whale. As uplifting as a successful rescue can be, it’s important to note that attempting it solo can be extremely dangerous – for both the whale and the human helper. Bryde’s whales (pronounced “broodus”) are filter feeders, but they can still weigh nearly 90,000 pounds (40,000 kg). One flick of that powerful tail could render a swimmer unconscious.

Should you find yourself in a similar situation, the best course of action is to contact the local coast guard.

Encino and his friends reportedly watched the animal for several minutes as it gained speed and confidence. Here’s hoping it was strong enough to feed and made a full recovery!




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