Tangled Humpback Whale Freed In Dana Point, Calif.

An entangled humpback whale was seen off the Dana Point coastline by Captain Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Safari boats. All too familiar a scene, whale watchers got to see a grim side to the typically pleasant whale- watching cruise until disentanglement crews were able to cut the lines and set it free.

The marine mammal was stressed, according to Captain Dave Anderson, and doing repeated peduncle throws and tail slaps to remove the tangled lines. Witnesses on board viewed atypical whale behavior as the creature thrashed and landed its fluke on the surface in an effort to self-remove the tangle.


“Maybe it was feeling a lot more freedom from having some of the gear removed earlier in the day,” Anderson said over Facebook post. “Some rope was still attached.”


Crab gear from colder waters up north is a frequent cause for tangling whale and dolphin tails. On Sunday, a combined effort, the tangled whale was freed from the tangling Dungeness crab gear from the Washington state area.


“On Sunday, teams from Marine Animal Rescue left Dana Point Harbor while Pacific Marine Mammal Center and Sea World Rescue departed from Oceanside Harbor,” a National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration spokesperson said over Facebook. “At approximately 10:30 a.m. the teams located the whale four miles offshore of the San Onofre power plant.”



Responders from Marine Animal Rescue, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, SeaWorld Rescue, NOAA Fisheries and community members all joined in assisting to free the juvenile humpback, according to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center Facebook page.

The whale was in the neighborhood of 25 feet long and was drastically entangled, according to NOAA.

“NOAA Fisheries would like to thank Baywatch Cabrillo, Marine Animal Rescue, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Redondo Beach Harbor Patrol, Sea World Rescue, NOAA Fisheries staff, and community members who helped with boats and communications,” it said of the combined effort.


According to NOAA, not just anyone can help disentangle a whale or marine creature.


“Only highly trained personnel permitted under NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (Permit # 18786-01) conduct whale rescues and dis-entanglements,” the NOAA said.

The public can help by reporting entangled whales to the SOS-WHALe hotline (1-877-767-9425), and reporting entangled or stranded dolphins, seals, sea lions, or sea turtles to the local stranding network or NOAA Fisheries’ stranding hotline at 1-866-767-6114.


Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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