Sunday 2 August 2020

Rescue workers manage to free Humpback Whale entagled in ropes off the coast of New York.

A team of rescue workers have been able to free a Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, that had become entangled in fishing ropes and buoys off the coast of New York City. The animal was spotted by recreational boaters on Monday 27 July 2020, who reported it to Coast Guard. The Coast Guard in turn contacted NOAA Fisheries, who contacted Marine Animal Entanglement Response at the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The Whale had apparently been entangled in the ropes for several days, and was having trouble swimming to the surface to breath. The Animal was observed by rescue workers for two days before being approached by divers from the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and Department of Environmental Conservation, who began cutting ropes from the Whale, a process which took over a day.

Rescue workers cutting ropes from an entangled Humpback Whale, Megaptera novaeangliae, earlier this week. Basil Seggos/Twitter.

Humpback Whales were nearly exterminated by commercial Whaling in the first part of the twentieth century. The species has been protected since 1946, and in recent years their population has appeared to be recovering in many areas, now being seen as being of Least Concern  under the terms of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. These Whales are becoming increasingly common in waters around the world, but are also increasingly often becoming entangled in fishing tackle, which is not generally designed with Whales in mind.

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