Center for Coastal Studies leads NJ humpback entanglement response

Friday, November 15, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PCCS Contact:
Cathrine Macort
+1-508-487-3622 x103
+1-508-808-9660
cmacort@coastalstudies.org

Members of the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown (CCS MAER) are leading efforts to free a juvenile humpback whale entangled in fishing gear off the coast of New Jersey.

The U.S. Coast Guard deployed a vessel to the area yesterday and collected information, photographs and video of the whale; this information allowed responders to assess the entanglement and determine the best course of action to free the animal. The 87′ vessel, from USCG Station Cape May, remained on stand-by close to the whale overnight.

NOAA Fisheries, the Federal agency charged with the monitoring whale populations, contacted the Center for Coastal Studies MAER team yesterday afternoon, and the Provincetown-based responders have been at the scene, about two miles east of the Manasquan Inlet, since 8 am this morning. The NJ-based Brigantine Stranding Group is also assisting in the rescue efforts.

“We are very grateful to the U.S. Coast Guard, the Center for Coastal Studies and the Brigantine Stranding Group for their help,” said David Morin, Disentanglement Coordinator, NOAA Fisheries. “We also want to remind concerned members of the public that the best thing they can do to help is provide room for authorized responders to do their work. Responders are trained to help an animal in distress, without causing further injury to the animal or to themselves.”

The Center for Coastal Studies is federally-authorized to perform large whale disentanglement under the authority of Scientific Research and Enhancement Permit Number 932-1905, issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service and United States Fish and Wildlife Service under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act.

Since 1984 the MAER team has freed more than 200 whales, sea turtles and other marine animals from potentially life-threatening entanglements.

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No images are available at this time.

For further information, please contact:

Cathrine Macort, Center for Coastal Studies 508-487-3622 x103 / 508-808-9660 (c)

Nick Ameen, U.S. Coast Guard 757-434-6043

Maggie Mooney-Seus, NOAA Fisheries 978-281-9175/774-392-4865 ( c )