August 14, 2015
The Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team at the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) disentangled a humpback whale yesterday afternoon (Friday, August 14) off Cape Cod. The young whale was discovered by whale watchers aboard the Dolphin Fleet of Provincetown. The captain and crew stood by the whale until the MAER team arrived to disentangle the whale.
The young whale was towing rope and buoys that were lodged in its mouth. The whale was accompanied by another young humpback – a whale disentangled by the CCS response team in April of 2015.
Both whales were extremely agitated which made disentanglement more challenging. The whales were moving at high rates of speed and were unpredictable in the direction traveled, highlighting the need for mariners to use caution around entangled whales and report all sightings immediately.
The whale was completely disentangled and future sightings of the individual by whale watchers and researchers will help in an assessment of its recuperation.
Many thanks to the Dolphin Fleet and their passengers for reporting and standing by this whale, without which disentanglement would not likely have been successful.
Boaters in the Northeast are urged to 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 to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.
CCS disentanglement work is supported by a grant from the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries (MA-DMF), and the Massachusetts Environmental Trust. Support is also provided by the Pegasus Foundation, the Hermann Foundation, the Mary P. Dolciani Halloran Foundation, the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation, the Grace W. Allsop Foundation, the MALLRD Foundation, and contributions from CCS members.
All disentanglement activities are conducted under a federal permit authorized by NOAA.