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      Saturday, April 23, 2011

    PCCS Contact:
    Tanya Grady

    Right Whale Disentangled Off Cape Cod

    (Provincetown, Mass.) - A North Atlantic right whale was freed from entanglement yesterday, by the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team, from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS).

    The entangled whale was spotted in the area of several other whales in Cape Cod Bay, by PCCS researchers conducting a right whale aerial survey. The whale had rope through its mouth that trailed over 40-feet beyond its tail. This entanglement was potentially life-threatening because over time, the line extending from its mouth could cause further complications. After working on the entanglement for several hours, the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team was able to make a single cut and add large buoys to pull the entanglement from the whale's mouth, freeing the animal of the entanglement.

    This year, PCCS has documented about 50 percent of the right whale population off of Cape Cod. This species is of special concern, because only 473 animals are estimated to left in the entire population. Human-caused mortalities, vessel strikes and entanglements in commercial fishing gear, add significantly to the death rate for right whales. A majority of the right whale population exhibit scars from a previous entanglement. Right whales are listed as critically endangered and are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act. It is illegal to approach within 500 yards of a right whale. PCCS conducts research under federal permits issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

    PCCS right whale research provides valuable information to resource managers regarding population distribution, behaviors, habitat use, and food resource abundance. Entanglement sightings, involving multiple species are recorded year round off of Massachusetts and entanglement response aims to reduce these impacts on endangered populations while gathering information that may help prevent entanglements.

    PCCS right whale research and response operations are conducted in partnership with Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. To report an entangled animal in Southern New England, please call: 1800-900-3622.


    The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1976 and dedicated to preserving coastal and marine ecosystems and providing educational activities which promote the responsible stewardship of our oceans.

    Right whale images taken under NOAA Fisheries permit 633-1763, under the authority of the U.S. Endangered Species and Marine Mammal Protection Acts - please request PCCS permission for use.

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