Early Friday evening, whale watchers spotted a blue whale entangled in fishing line off of the coast of Palos Verdes, California.
Officials from the United States Coast Guard and officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration responded to search for the whale and help untangle it, but the efforts to help untangle it Friday evening were unsuccessful and were put on hold until Saturday morning.
Blue whales are the largest animal species known to live, and can grow up to 100 feet in length and weigh up to 200 tons. The whale that was entangled on Friday afternoon was estimated to be about 80 feet long.
The whale is entangled in and trailing a long line estimated to be about 200 feet that is connected to a red-orange buoy that is believed to be from a crab pot.
On Friday evening when the whale was found by officials, the Pacific Ocean was too rough to try to approach the whale or trying to cut the line. One swish of the blue whales tale can kill you or knock your boat out of commission. So, the officials on Friday evening decided to attach a larger buoy to the line so the whale would be easier to spot in the ocean when searched for again on Saturday.
The plan was smart, except when officials went to look for the whale Saturday morning, no one could find the whale. Not by helicopter, plane, or boat. Officials believe that the whale went south, but there was still no sighting of it on Saturday, and it was suspended for the night.
Officials hope to find the whale soon because the fishing line it is entangled in is dangerous and could be cutting into the whales skin. “If the line runs across its mouth, it can keep the animal from from eating or cut deep into the mouth. If entangled on the fluke or dorsal or pectoral fins, it could eventually cause infection, cut or even sever the appendage. We still don’t have a clear picture of how or where it is entangled,” NOAA Public Affairs Officer Jim Milbury said.