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    Humpback whale disentangled near Grand Manan Island, Canada - 12/19/07



    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.  

    The 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:

    Team member assesses whale Left side of whale
    Whale free of gear Diagram of entanglement

    click here for a list of previous entanglements


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