Humpback whale successfully disentangled by California Whale Rescue (CWR) network on April 21, 2016

California Whale Rescue's trained responders approach an entangled humpback whale off the coast of Point Sur on April 21, 2016.

A humpback whale entangled in fishing gear was successfully extricated yesterday afternoon by a response team from the California Whale Rescue (CWR) network with support from the local U.S. Coast Guard about 15 miles west of Point Sur.

The subadult humpback whale was first reported late Wednesday morning, April 20th, by a sport fisherman off Moss Landing. The fisherman stayed with the whale until the response team arrived on scene.

The whale's entanglement was very complex.

Evaluation by the response team determined the entanglement was complex with heavy line leading through the mouth, wrapping twice over the whale’s back, and around both pectoral fins.  A telemetry buoy to track the whale by satellite was attached to the line for location of the animal the following day.

On Thursday, April 21st, the U. S. Coast Guard and the CWR network departed Moss Landing
to the whale’s location using the satellite telemetry positions. For over five hours the team approached, evaluated, and eventually were able to make two cuts that successfully freed
the whale. 

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

A long pole with a custom-made knife is used to cut the entanglement line. The knife is incredibly sharp on one side, as it has to cut through steel-reinforced line, but is curved with soft edges on the other side so as not to cut the whale's skin.

California Whale Rescue would like to extend its sincerest thanks to John Favazza of FV Okie Dokie who immediately reported the distressed whale and was able to stay with the whale until a response team arrived, and to the U.S. Coast Guard for providing transportation and support during the rescue.

The responders on this rescue were CWR network members including the Alaska Whale Foundation, Point Blue Conservation Science, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Fast Raft Safaris, the Oceanic Society, 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 Stranding Response Program Permit #18786 and is dedicated to entangled whale response and prevention. 


CWR authorized responders use a GoPro camera attached to a long pole in order to get a closer assessment of how the whale is entangled.