California Whale Rescue Responders Disentangle Humpback Whale off Carmel Coast

The entangled humpback whale was trailing crab pot line and buoys.

MONTEREY, Calif. – A humpback whale entangled in fishing gear was successfully disentangled Tuesday afternoon by a response team from the California Whale Rescue (CWR) network about 4 miles west of Carmel Highlands.

The adult humpback whale was first reported mid-Tuesday morning off Point Pinos, by a commercial crab fisherman, who stayed with the whale until the response team arrived. 

Fisherman Calder Deyerle and his 5-year old son, Miles, immediately reported the distressed whale. Miles insisted they stay with the whale until a response team arrived because, as he said, "saving an injured animal is more important."

Evaluation by the response team determined the entanglement involved heavy line from a crab pot system wrapped around both sides of the whale’s flukes. Entanglements of this kind can lead to eventual amputation of the flukes, and possible death of the animal.

Underwater photo of humpback whale with line wrapped around tail flukes.

A telemetry buoy to track the whale by satellite was attached to the line for relocation of the animal in case the disentanglement effort continued the following day.

The team was able to thoroughly assess the entanglement and cut the whale free less than seven hours after the whale had initially been reported.

The team captured identifying fluke and dorsal fin photographs and retrieved the fishing gear that had entangled the whale.

California Whale Rescue would like to extend its sincerest thanks to fisherman Calder Deyerle and his 5-year old son, Miles, who immediately reported the distressed whale. Miles insisted they stay with the whale until a response team arrived because, as he said, "saving an injured animal is more important." Their willingness to stand by was vital to the success of this event.

Authorized California Whale Rescue responder Scott Benson approaches the whale to make the disentanglement cut.

The responders on this rescue were CWR network members including NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Fast Raft Ocean Safaris, Talbot Films, Marine Life Studies’ Whale Entanglement Team, and Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. 

##California Whale Rescue is permitted under NOAA’s Marine Mammal Health and StrandingResponse Program Permit #18786 and is dedicated to entangled whale response andprevention. 

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Video from this response can be found at:
https://vimeo.com/166254245/cb2e602366

High-resolution photos can be downloaded on Flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/noaaswrfish/albums/72157668180234686

More photos and videos can be found on our Photos & Videos page.