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    Humpback whale, Sigma, disentangled on Grand Manan Bank, Canada - 8/23/07


    PCCS disentangled a humpback whale today (8/23/07) on Grand Manan Bank, Canada. The humpback whale research team, in collaboration with the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary, removed hundreds of feet of rope and buoys from the whale.


      Team adding buoys to entanglement - PCCS image 

    The whale was found during the annual Gulf of Maine humpback whale research cruise, aboard the R/V Shearwater. The crew was surveying humpback whale feeding areas between Nova Scotia and the coast of Maine when they noticed a whale towing a series of buoys. On closer inspection the whale had two lengths of rope exiting both sides of the mouth and trailing over 200-feet behind the flukes.

    While the entanglement was not immediately life-threatening, there was a high likelihood that the rope would have fouled the flippers or the flukes over time. To reduce this possibility, the team decided to mount a disentanglement response. Deploying a small inflatable boat, the team approached the gear behind the whale and added a series of buoys. They then cut the rope on one side of the animal. After a series of dives, buoyancy from the buoys created enough force to remove the rope from the mouthline of the whale. All of the rope and buoys were then recovered and will be used in ongoing studies aimed at preventing entanglement. The whale left the area quickly but documentation from the event will inform ongoing humpback whale research efforts into the impacts of entanglements.

    Many thanks to the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale Sanctuary for their generous support and to our dedicated and patient interns.

      Team inspects gear. Over 600-feet of rope was removed from the whale- PCCS image

    click here to read about previous entanglements


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