October 13th,2016. Another entangled whale was spotted four miles off Newport’s coastline on Wednesday, with rescue efforts unsuccessful.
A social media post by Newport Coastal Adventure showed a photo of the humpback with line and traps wrapped around its body and fins.
Captain Ryan Lawler spotted the struggling whale. Drone photos captured the extent of the damage, according to the post.
The Newport Coastal Adventure charter, which had passengers aboard searching for wildlife, ended up staying with the whale for five hours until help arrived.
“The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) disentanglement team did their best today but the whale was difficult to approach,” the post reads. We hope this animal gets another shot at being rescued!”
There was no word Thursday morning on whether the whale had been spotted again off the Orange County coastline.
A whale trapped in line could have difficulty eating or swimming, but it’s not always a death sentence. An entangled humpback whale spotted off the coast over the summer was able to free itself, and was again seen last month without fishing line wrapped around it.
Data from NOAA shows that entanglements have increased in recent years. Last year, 61 whales were reported entangled off the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California, the highest number since NOAA began keeping records in 1982.
Since January, more than 40 whale entanglements off California have been reported.
On average, about 10 whales were reported entangled off the West Coast annually from 2000 to 2012. Humpback whales are the most commonly entangled whale species on the West Coast, according to NOAA.