So, it took two days, but the poor humpback is free. Rescuers from the national oceans agency (NOAA) and San Diego SeaWorld finally cut away over 300 feet (!!) of fishing line, including a lobster trap, that was entangling the whale from tip to tail. There may have still been some fishing line in the whale’s mouth when it swam off, but hopefully it will be all right.
This incident is one of a growing number of whale entanglements. California fishermen are actively working with the state to come up with ways to prevent the abandonment of “orphan” fishing gear, which is usually what entangles marine mammals. Unfortunately, NOAA has had to respond to 50 whale entanglements so far this year.
If you see a marine mammal in distress, please maintain 100 yards distance, and call the NOAA Response Hotline at 1-877-SOS-WHALe (1-877-767-9425).