The PCCS whale rescue team worked with the Campobello whale rescue team (CRT) and the Candian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) to disentangle a humpback whale today (12/19/07) near Grand Manan Island,
Canada. When the rescue team arrived on scene they found the whale severely entangled. There were two main wraps around the whale's body with several lines twisted in each of these wraps.
Additionally, there were approximately 7 or 8 wraps of line around the left flipper, and
many lines through the whale's mouth. Working in freezing temperatures the rescuers were able to
free the whale from the extensive entanglement.
Flukes of entangled whale. PCCS/CRT image.
entangled whale was reported to the Grand
Manan Fishermen's Association by a fisherman who
spotted the whale caught in his lobster
gear early yesterday afternoon. The Association
notified the DFO and the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement
Network (ALWDN). The fisherman stayed with the whale long
enough to determine that it was anchored in place. The 6 foot
seas and 20 knot winds reported by the fisherman were
not conducive to immediate disentanglement operations.
CRT, DFO, and PCCS took advantage of a brief
period of calm weather this morning. A DFO vessel from Grand
Manan assigned to the disentanglement operation picked
up the CRT/PCCS disentanglement team from Campobello Island at dawn.
The team located the entangled whale approximately a mile from where it had been reported
yesterday afternoon. The fisherman was also in the area and kept in touch with the rescue
team offering his assistance. Using hook-shaped knives
at the end of poles, the team made a series of cuts that
freed the whale from its entanglement. While the animal
did sustain injuries from the entanglement, the team is
cautiously optimistic that the whale will recover.
Area of the head of the whale showing
tangled line and buoys. - PCCS/CRT image
The whale has not yet been identified to the Gulf of
Maine humpback whale catalog, curated by PCCS. Any
updates about this whale will be posted here.
Many thanks to the fisherman, the Grand Manan Fisherman's Association,
and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans without whose cooperation and assistance this
disentanglement operation would not have been possible.
Click on images below for a larger view:
||Left side of
Whale free of gear
click here for a list of previous entanglements