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      Thursday, July 5, 2012

    PCCS Contact:
    Cathrine Macort
    +1-508-487-3622 x103

    Young humpback whale disentangled off Cape Cod

    MAER team used hooked knives on the end of long poles to
    cut the lines from the entangled whale.
    PCCS image taken under
    NOAA permit 932-1905.

    Today the Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) Team at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies disentangled a young humpback whale approximately 5 miles east of  Chatham, MA.

    The entanglement was reported to the MAER hotline at approximately 7:30 am by recreational boaters, who then stood by the whale until the responders arrived from Provincetown.

    According to Scott Landry, director of the MAER program, the whale was heavily entangled and anchored in place, with line through its mouth and wrapped several times around its body and tail.

    Once on site the team, working from a small inflatable boat, used hook-shaped knives on the end of long poles to sever the line. After several strategic cuts the weight of the gear pulled the remaining entanglement from the whale. Bruised and abraded the  whale swam off, gear free.

    Photographic identification data was taken on scene and will be analyzed by the Humpback Studies Program at PCCS.

    Summer is typically a busy time for the entanglement response team, thanks in large part to the increased number of recreational boaters on the water. Mariners are urged to quickly report any entanglement sightings of whales, sea-turtles and other marine animals to the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Hotline (1-800-900-3622) or the US Coast Guard and stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.

    PCCS disentanglement work is supported by a grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA-DMF). Support for the Marine Animal Response Team also comes from grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the Pegasus Foundation, the Hermann Foundation, the Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation, and contributions from PCCS members. All disentanglement activities are conducted under a federal permit authorized by NOAA.

    The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting marine mammals and ecosystems in the Gulf of Maine through applied research and education.

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