Posted by: The ocean update | May 17, 2016

Young humpback whale freed off Provincetown (Massachussetts, USA)

Recreational boaters report entanglement ; rescue team worked on freeing whale for two hours

Young humpback whale freed from entanglement had line through its mouth and wrapped around its flukes, anchoring it to fishing gear on the seafloor. CCS image taken under NOAA permit #18786.

Young humpback whale freed from entanglement had line through its mouth and wrapped around its flukes, anchoring it to fishing gear on the seafloor. CCS image taken under NOAA permit #18786.

May 17th, 2016. A young humpback whale is swimming free thanks to concerned boaters and an expert rescue team. On Saturday, the Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies was alerted to an entangled whale off Wood End in Provincetown, according to a statement. Recreational boaters had contacted United States Coast Guard officials who in turn, contacted the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS).

As the boaters, US Coast Guard crew and the Dolphin Fleet watched over the whale, CCS deployed their Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) Team to the area.

The MAER team arrived to find a young humpback with line through its mouth and wrapped around its flippers. The line was anchored to gear at the sea floor, the release said. Although able to dive, the whale was anchored in place. The whale was agitated, leading rescuers to believe it had only recently been caught in the line.

Over a span of two hours, the MAER team made a series of cuts in the line, eventually freeing the whale.

MAER Director Scott Landry¬†commended the boaters, the Coast Guard and the Dolphin Fleet. “The sooner we receive word of entanglements and the sooner we can help, the better,” Landry said.

Boaters are encouraged to report entanglements of whales, sea turtles and other marine animals by calling the MAER hotline at 800-900-3622. Entanglements may also be reported to the Coast Guard by radio on VHF 16. Boaters making reports are asked to stay with the animal at a safe distance until rescuers arrive.

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