MONTEREY BAY, CA — A roughly 40-foot humpback whale was rescued Monday in Monterey Bay after becoming entangled in and weighed down by commercial dungeness crab fishing gear.
A response team rescued the animal, which was unable to move, and found it was tangled in three sets of crab gear, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Tuesday. A line was wrapped around the whale's tail several times, digging into its flesh. The weight of the gear kept the whale from swimming, NOAA said.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife first spotted the animal Saturday morning. It was stuck just north of Moss Landing, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which also aided in the response.
A Fish and Wildlife team responded Saturday afternoon and unsuccessfully tried to attach a tracking buoy, according to NOAA. Another team returned Sunday to successfully attach the buoy and develop a plan to save the animal, but worsening weather meant the team had to head back to shore.
The Coast Guard and four other regional volunteer organizations returned Monday morning and helped NOAA free the whale by 1 p.m.
NOAA said entangled whales can be dangerous and should be promptly reported by calling NOAA's 24-hour hotline at 877-SOS-WHALE (877-767-9425) or hailing the Coast Guard of VHF Channel 16.
Read more about the rescue here and see photos of the effort below:
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