Julie Speegle, spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, says the Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding Network is responding to the whale, which now has a swimming companion, a second adult humpback whale. The crew’s first priority is to get underwater video of the entanglement to determine whether the other whale has also become tangled in the line.
The location of the whale now is on the opposite side of Admiralty Island from where the whales were spotted last week and over the weekend.
The 40-foot adult humpback whale was first reported entangled last Wednesday near Admiralty Island, where it was found.
At first contact, the Forest Service and NOAA fisheries staff were unable to free the whale as the weather worsened. NOAA asked for the public to alert them to the whale’s location.
The whale was seen again on Saturday, this time, with a second adult whale, in Gastineau Channel south of Juneau. Crews were again unable to free the animal, but managed to attach another buoy with a satellite tracker.