Endangered humpback whale off NJ freed from entanglement
Friday, November 15, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: PCCS Contact:
Today, members of the Marine Animal Entanglement team at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown (CCS MAER) successfully freed a juvenile humpback whale entangled in fishing gear off the coast of New Jersey.
The whale was spotted yesterday by a marine mammal observer aboard a dredge working in the area. The entanglement was reported to the U.S. Coast Guard, who remained on stand-by overnight to monitor the animal and keep the area clear of boaters.
NOAA Fisheries, the Federal agency charged with the monitoring whale populations, contacted the CCS MAER team yesterday afternoon, and the
Provincetown responders have been at the scene since 8 am this morning.
Scott Landry, Director of the MAER program, reported that the humpback had line wrapped around its tail and was effectively anchored to the seafloor. Landry and fellow CCS MAER responder Jenn Tackaberry made a single cut through the line and the gear dropped away. After a few minutes the whale swam off, gear free.
Landry noted that, while the whale did sustain some injuries to the tail, but the prognosis is good.
The entanglement response team was assisted by the Brigantine Stranding Network, and a local fisherman was also very helpful throughout the operation.
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.
To report an entangled marine animal, please contact 1-800-900-3622, 866-755-NOAA (6622), or your local USCG station. Since 1984 the MAER team has freed more than 200 whales, sea turtles and other marine animals from potentially life-threatening entanglements