After being caught in fishing line for two days, a whale in Long Beach California finally swims free after being helped by its rescuers. The adult humpback whale was spotted Friday off the Orange County coast about 45 miles south of Los Angeles and reported to have gotten stuck in what looked like a lobster trap and got agitated. It got more and more tangled until a team of rescuers began operating. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration cut away over 100 feet of rope and buoys before the whale swam off.
The next day the whale was spotted 60 miles south of La Jolla Cove in San Diego. After three hours the Sea World team of rescuers were able to cut away some more 230 feet of rope, leaving only some line in its mouth.
NOAA’s whale rescue team has encountered 50 entangled whales since January which is much more than usual. According to Justin Viezbicke, a NOAA program specialist who was part of Friday’s rescue effort, the spike could be attributed to warmer waters bringing the animals closer to shore, where they encounter fishing gear.
Efforts have been put place to not only help whales who get trapped in fishing lines but also to prevent such emergencies from happening.
“Our response network is really just a Band-Aid,” Viezbicke said. “We’re looking for ways to be proactive and minimize these situations in the future.”
Reports say that the rescue team was able to cut away buoys that will help give the researchers answers as to what can be done to help make the whales more safe.