Friday, May 27th, 2016. A whale was rescued Thursday after it became entangled in Cape Cod.
The Center for Coastal Studies Marine Animal Entanglement Response team saved the young humpback whale, as fishing line was tightly wrapped around its body.
“The whale was found to have three wraps of line around (the) base of its flukes,” the Center noted in a press release. “It was free-swimming, so (it) had likely torn the entanglement from a larger fishing gear set.”
The crew responded and freed the animal.
“Using a grappling hook, the responders were able to establish a work line to the entanglement,” the release noted. “They then attached several large buoys to the line to slow the whale and keep it at the surface while they carefully assessed the situation. They then used hook-shaped knives on the end of long poles to make a series of cuts through the line, completely freeing the whale.”
But the rescue wasn’t easy. Scott Landry, who is the director of the team, said “the whale’s behavior during the response went from calm to bouts of thrashing.”
“This is a good reminder to any mariner who finds an entangled whale should call for help and wait for assistance,” said Landry. “Whales are extremely unpredictable wild animals. Generally speaking, everything goes well until it does not go well, which is why mariners should never touch gear on entangled whales.”
The Center noted that the rescue marked the third disentanglement by the team in less than two weeks. The first was off Wood End in Provincetown on May 14, and the second was off Cape Ann on May 18, the Center said.
Boaters 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.