Sunday, October 30, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Young humpback whale disentangled off Cape Cod
The Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies disentangled a young humpback whale this morning off Chatham, MA.
Badly entangled flukes of the humpback
whale as team members approach to throw a
grapple into the entanglement. PCCS image.
Taken under NOAA permit 932-1905 with
authority of the ESA.
Scott Landry, director of the program, said that the operation would not have been possible without the support of local fishermen. "It was like the good old days when fishermen and whale people worked together to solve a tough problem" he said.
Fishermen stood by and assessed the whale until the responders arrived from Provincetown. All line and netting were removed from the whale. "The whale took off quickly once free, contrary to popular belief about whales thanking their rescuers" said teammate Doug Sandilands.
Photographic identification data was taken on the scene and will be analyzed by the Humpback Studies Program at PCCS. The program has monitored the frequency of humpback whale entanglements off New England based on the injuries that entanglements produce. Of the approximately 900 whales in the Gulf of Maine humpback whale population, more than half have experienced an entanglement in their lifetime and 8-25 percent acquire new entanglement scars annually.
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 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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