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Some good news amongst the COVID chaos – successful disentanglements from around the world

While the COVID lock down has halted a lot of activities, large whale disentanglement teams around the world have remained busy. Here are just a few successful release stories from earlier this month.

Cape Cod, USA 03/06/2020 – Center for Coastal Studies

Image credit: Center for Coastal Studies 

The Center for Coastal Studies Marine Animal Entanglement Response team (CCS MAER) disentangled at young humpback whale 15 miles east of Cape Cod, MA. This was the second time the young whale, identified as a 2015 calf, has been disentangled by the team in less than a year. The whale had bitten down on a buoy line attached to fishing gear on the seafloor, likely while feeding, and was towing the heavy fishing gear below it. The whale was notably distressed, likely indicating that it had been recently entangled. This was the first whale disentanglement operation since the start of the pandemic. “I think the entire team has a new appreciation of some of the challenges our first responders have faced” said Scott Landry, Director of the CCS MAER team. “Disentangling a whale in rough sea conditions is hard. Doing so with full PPE added a new challenge especially since clear visibility and communication are key to our safety. But the whole team was up to the challenge and is committed to keeping our community, and whales, safe.”

Scarborough,South Africa – 17/06/2020 – SA Whale Disentanglement Network

Image credit: SA Whale Disentanglement Network

The South African disentanglement team responded to reports from fishermen of a free-swimming entangled adult humpback whale, that had become entangled in  fishing ropes and buoys  around its tail. From arrival on scene, the team took less than 30 minutes to release the whale.

Gold Coast, Australia 19/06/2020 – Humpback mother and calf released

Image credit: 7News

Despite rough sea and weather conditions, a humpback mother and calf were successfully released from controversial shark nets off the Gold Coast, Australia.

Newfoundland, Canada 21/06/2020

Image credit: Whale Release and Strandings

The Whale Release and Strandings crew took a call at 0815 from a fisherman about an entrapped whale in his herring net. The crew arrived at 1400 (this team are based near St Johns and cover ALL of Newfoundland and Labrador) and put to sea with the fisherman and crew in support. The humpback whale had dragged other gear with a weight, which fisherman suspected to be an anchor, into his net and anchored itself against the net. All of the gear was removed from the whale with minor damage, and returned to the fisherman.  The whale immediately left the area with no sightings of it once it was cleared of the gear.

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