Two humpback whales freed from fishermen’s nets off US coast

The whales endured a long ordeal as rescue teams fought to untangle the mammals from the nets using hook knives

 

Rachael Revesz
New York
Thursday 19 May 2016 18:55
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The whale was spotted dragging a fishing buoy, entangled in fishing lines
The whale was spotted dragging a fishing buoy, entangled in fishing lines

Two humpback whales have been rescued off the coast of California as they had become dangerously entangled in fishing gear.

Crab fisherman Calder Deyerle and his five-year-old son Miles spotted an adult humpback towing heavy crab fishing lines and floats four miles off the Californian coast.

They called the California Whale Rescue (CWR) which found that fishing lines had been caught on both sides of the whale’s flukes - the two lobes separating the tail.

The rescue team mounted a hook knife onto a pole and managed to free the animal after seven hours, as reported by CNN.

Authorities credited the fishing duo for their willingness to “stand by”, which was “vital to the success of the event”.

CWR explained that the late crab fishing season, due to end in June, has clashed with the whale migration and has caused several whales to be caught up in fishing gear.

A CRW video below shows the process of freeing another whale which became entangled in April.

Two humpback whales freed from fishermen’s nets off US coast

In a separate case off the coast of Massachusetts this week, another humpback whale was freed after almost 12 hours when it was first spotted with white fishing lines wrapped around its head and flippers.

The whale was also dragging along an orange fishing buoy, making it easier for rescue teams to keep track of it, found ABC News.

“If the whale is kept at the surface, it's possible for a team to use knives to free the animal,” said Charles Mayo of the Center for Coastal Studies.

Several boats helped to free the animal, which can be dangerous work as whales can act unpredictably or thrash about when approached.

Whales and other marine life have been seriously injured in the past or have died as a result of being ensnared in nets and crab pots.

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