Struggle to free right whale

Rightwhale_0202005

Choppy seas and 20-knot winds off Daytona Beach, Fla., last week hampered efforts by a disentanglement team from the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies to free a critically endangered North Atlantic right whale whose flippers were tightly wrapped in ropes.

Guided by satellite telemetry and aided by a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission aircraft, team members David Morin and Scott Landry of Coastal Studies, and Jamison Smith of NOAA Fisheries Service, working from a rigid hull inflatable, located the whale 15 miles offshore.

After documenting and assessing the entanglement, they were joined by the Coast Guard Cutter Kingfisher carrying additional team members and equipment. The team successfully removed approximately 100 feet of trailing gear before dark while following the whale more than 30 miles offshore.

Coastal Studies’ Disentanglement Team will continue to track the whale’s movements by and make a second attempt at disentanglement when the weather clears

The entangled whale was first reported 20 miles off the Georgia coast Saturday.

Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies manages the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network supported in part by NOAA Fisheries Service, which coordinated Monday’s event off Daytona Beach.

The network comprises 20 disentanglement teams from Quebec to Florida, and is a unique, successful collaboration between private and public agencies and institutions, and hundreds of commercial fishermen, all of whom are dedicated to providing a coordinated emergency response to reports of entangled large whales.

To learn more about whale disentanglement, and the center’s other programs, visit PCCS on the web at www.coastalstudies.org

Source: The Cape Codder