Posted by: The ocean update | May 19, 2016

Entangled whale freed but in danger (Massachussetts, USA)

A collar of heavy line remains embedded in the body of a whale found severely entangled off Cape Ann on Wednesday. A Center for Coastal Studies crew was able to cut lines that had anchored the whale in place, but the collar around its body could not be removed. CCS image taken under NOAA permit #18786.

A collar of heavy line remains embedded in the body of a whale found severely entangled off Cape Ann on Wednesday. A Center for Coastal Studies crew was able to cut lines that had anchored the whale in place, but the collar around its body could not be removed. CCS image taken under NOAA permit #18786.

Center for Coastal Studies team worked nine hours to free Foggy, a 29-year-old humpback

May 19th, 2016 (K. C. Myers). A team from the Center for Coastal Studies freed a severely entangled humpback whale off Cape Ann on Wednesday, according to a statement the Provincetown-based organization.

The center’s Marine Animal Entanglement Response team responded to the entangled adult humpback after she was discovered by fishermen, who stayed with the 29-year-old whale named Foggy until rescuers arrived.

The whale had a number of twisted ropes wrapped around her body, just behind her head, according to the statement.

Line embedded three to six inches deep into blubber and muscle could not be removed. The collar of line had snagged on more fishing gear attached to the seafloor, anchoring the whale to a small circle but allowing her to remain at the surface for air.

The team worked with the whale for more than nine hours, eventually freeing her from the anchor and severing the collar, but it’s still deeply embedded in her body. Her overall condition is quite poor, according to the center.

“We dulled or broke every knife in our kit and every teammate worked their fingers to the bone for this whale,” Scott Landry, director of the entanglement team, said in the prepared statement. “Short of removing the 40-ton whale from the ocean and performing surgery, we did everything humanly possible for this animal. With the collar now broken she has a chance to naturally reject the rope, but she is quite thin and in poor condition so we have to hope for the best.”

The whale had been saved once before by the center, when entangled in September 2013 in the Bay of Fundy, off Nova Scotia.

Mariners are urged to report any entanglement sightings of whales, sea-turtles and other marine animals to the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline at 1-800-900-3622, or the U.S. Coast Guard, and to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.entangled-humpback-whale-Massachussetts

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