August 03, 2010
Photo courtesy NOAA
The fishers assisted operations by monitoring the animals until an experienced whale disentanglement response team from NOAA's Protected Resources Division in Juneau arrived on scene to lend a hand. NOAA scientists worked with the local fishermen to further assess the situation in order to determine the best plan of action.
While assessing and monitoring the animals, the whales worked free of each other and began to shed the fishing gear. After a few more hours, the adult female had shed all gear, and the calf had very small remnants of netting still caught on barnacles on its head and on the left side of its tail.
"The remaining gear on the calf would likely be shed within a day," said NOAA Marine Mammal Response Manager Ed Lyman. "The entanglement was no longer life threatening for either animal. They'll both be fine."
While the whales did not have to be cut free, NOAA credits the fishers in reporting, monitoring and assisting in the effort.
Disentangling a 40-ton whale is dangerous and should only be performed by experienced and authorized responders. Mariners are requested to report any sightings of whales in distress to the NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Hotline at (877) 925-7773.
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