UPDATE: Rescuers will try again Tuesday to free a blue whale entangled in hundreds of feet of fishing line off the coast of Southern California.
The 80-foot Blue Whale was caught in about 200 feet of rope from fishing gear and crab traps when it was spotted Monday off the coast of Dana Point, CA.
According to Michael Milstein of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: “Experts got close enough to cut away some dangling rope but they couldn’t reach the line wrapped around the whales flipper. The operation was suspended at nightfall and will begin again Tuesday morning.
DANA POINT, Calif. — A blue whale was found entangled in fishing gear off of Dana Point in Laguna Beach on Monday, June 27, 2016 at around 12:30 p.m.
Zodiac Dolphin and Whale Rescue Safari crews rushed over to assist the 70-to-80 foot long blue whale which was spotted approximately six miles southwest of Dana Point. National Oceanic and Atomspheric Administration (NOAA) officals claim that this exact whale was believed to be seen about 30 miles off of the San Diego shoreline this past Sunday.
According to NOAA, the blue whale seemed to be entangled in crab trap lines and fishing equipment. NOAA also stated that this type of entanglement was unusual for blue whales as they do not frequently come close to the shorelines.
He is about five miles off South Laguna Beach now and a telemetry buoy has been attached. The buoy pinpoints the whales exact location for the rescue task force.
Jonsie Reynolds Ross, the Marine Mammal Stranding Coordinator of The California Wildlife Center tells WAN: “NOAA and Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s whale disentanglement teams are attempting to free the blue whale at this time. It could have up to 200 feet of line around its tail from a crab trap. It’s unusual for blue whales to get entangled because they feed so far off shore. Last fall, another one was also entangled.”
Rescue team members including Anderson, Southern and Justin Viezbicke, the California Stranding Network Coordinator with NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries are attempting to cut the line with a pelican knife.
“The whale seems really tired,” Anderson said. “In a very unusual behavior for a blue whale, it spy-hopped for about 45 seconds as if to take a look around.”
Anderson said NOAA officials will be able to track where the fishing gear and crab traps came from by looking at numbers engraved on the gear.
For further information on marine mammal beachings and entanglements, visit http://www.noaa.gov
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