Here’s a positive story for your Monday.
Earlier this week a humpback whale became trapped in buoys and fishing line just east of New York Harbor, and after an intense, days-long rescue mission, it has finally been freed!
According to a press release put out by the Center for Coastal Studies, the whale’s tail was being held down to the bottom of the sea, so only its head was sticking out and could only just reach the surface to breathe. Boaters discovered it on Monday, July 27 and soon multiple agencies made their way out to the location the help the creature, including the Coast Guard, NOAA Fisheries, Department Environmental Conservation, and more.
The entire ordeal took a total of three days, but ended victoriously.
On Monday the various organizations assessed the whale’s condition, noting that it was still able to reach the surface to breathe and not seeing any visible entanglements at first. Then on Tuesday, they saw that a “heavy, complex entanglement around the body and tail had anchored it to the seafloor,” and took photos to further assess how to free it.
On Wednesday, a team from Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) used a small inflatable boat to get close to the whale and start cutting around the “massive amount of fishing gear, including thick ropes, netting and buoys” it was caught in.
After breaking many tools and bringing in a ship that could haul all of the gear (as well as the whale) closer to the surface, they were finally able to cut through half inch steel cable wrapped round the flukes of the whale, and on Thursday afternoon it finally was free and swam off into the ocean.
Of course, it was especially precarious for the creature as it could not feed, was in danger of being hit by ships or attacked by predators, and with high tide it could have not been able to breathe at all.
“That was among the more challenging whale disentanglement cases we have dealt with. That whale was fighting to live. All the folks we were working with on the water the last two days were fighting to help it”, said Scott Landry, CCS Director of MAER.
“Without intervention that whale would not have survived. While it’s not entirely out of the woods yet, it’s prospects are now 100 percent better than what they were. We are optimistic we will see the whale again and like the majority of humpback whales off our coast it will bear the scars of entanglement.”
If you see any sea creatures entangled while out on the water, call MAER at 1-800-900-3622.
In other oceanic news: A Great White Shark Was Tracked Off NJ Coasts This Week, & It’s Headed To Montauk Next
featured image source: Center for Coastal Studies