Sunday, August 19, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
On Saturday afternoon the Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) disentangled a young humpback whale outside Chatham Harbor.
The whale was found and reported by tuna fishermen, who then stood by the animal until the responders arrived from Provincetown.
When the MAER team arrived on scene they found Hiatus, a relatively young humpback, firmly anchored in place by an entanglement that consisted of many wraps of rope through its mouth and around the body.
The responders, working from a small inflatable boat, used a twenty foot pole and hook-shaped knife to make numerous cuts in the entanglement, eventually freeing the whale from the rope and gear.
The team is well-acquainted with Hiatus: they disentangled this whale at nearly the same spot on July 5, 2012. “This was very unusual and not a pleasant coincidence” said Scott Landry, director of the entanglement response program. “We’d like to think that whales could learn to avoid entanglements but we know that the issue may be more complicated than that. Hopefully Hiatus will have a bit of time to heal from these events.”
Boaters are urged to quickly report any sightings of entangled 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.
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 MAER also comes from grants from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust and contributions from private foundations andÃ‚ 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.