Entangled humpback whale rescued off the coast in California

SAN DIEGO — A humpback whale was entangled off the coast in Carlsbad, California, and rescue crews helped it on Monday, September 26.

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According to a news release from SeaWorld San Diego, the Seaworld San Diego Rescue Team got a call from a boater on September 25 after they saw a humpback whale entangled in Carlsbad, California.

The rescue team went to the area the following morning, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They went to look for the whale, assess its condition and document the entanglement, said SeaWorld San Diego.

According to a news release from NOAA, it was determined that the gear that entangled the whale was some Dungeness crab fishing gear.

“There was deeply embedded line and a lot of gear trailing on the whale’s right side; I was not sure what we would be able to do for the whale,” said Justin Viezbicke, California Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator with NOAA Fisheries, in the news release. “We were fortunate that the camera helped us see one spot that looked like it would let us cut all the lines off at once.”

The response team used an inflatable boat to get close to the humpback whale and assess the entanglement. The team used a knife on the end of a long carbon fiber pole and made a single cut that got the gear off of the whale, according to SeaWorld San Diego.

“While the whale is now gear-free, the lines cut deep wounds into its flesh. However, biologists are cautiously optimistic that the wounds will heal and the whale will survive,” NOAA said on Facebook.

According to KGTV, SeaWorld San Diego, NOAA, Oceanside Harbor Police Department, California State Parks staff and Del Mar lifeguards were able to relocate the whale safely to San Elijo State Park.

If you see an entangled whale, call the whale entanglement hotline at 877-SOS-WHALE. More information about entanglements and how entanglements can affect mammals and sea turtles can be found on NOAA’s website.


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