May 14, 2016
Center for Coastal Studies frees young humpback whale from entanglement in Cape Cod Bay
This afternoon the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team disentangled a young humpback whale in Cape Cod Bay.
The entanglement was reported to the US Coast Guard (USCG) by the crew of the BHOOKEND Fishing Charters off Wood End in Provincetown. With the help of the USCG Station Provincetown and the crew and passengers of Dolphin Fleet VIII, the BHOOKEND stood by until the MAER team arrived on scene.
The whale was trapped in a complex entanglement with line through its mouth and wrapped around its flippers, attached to gear on the sea floor. The animal was essentially anchored in place, but was still able to dive. Its behavior was extremely agitated, suggesting that it was a very recent entanglement.
The MAER team worked on the whale for almost two hours, making a series of cuts to the line that eventually freed the animal.
“At this time of year we have a lot of whales moving into the area, and a lot of gear being set” said Scott Landry, director of the MAER program. “The sooner we receive word of entanglements and the sooner we can help, the better.”
The CCS MAER team wants to extend a special thanks to BHOOKEND Fishing Charters for their help standing by the entangled whale. They stayed at a safe distance while reporting the whale – this is a critical first step in the process of disentanglement. The Center is also grateful to the US Coast Guard and the Dolphin Fleet for their assistance in this response.
Mariners 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 (VHS 16), 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). Support for the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team also comes from grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, 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.
CCS images taken under NOAA permit #18786