September 4, 2006
Entangled whale freed of fishing gear
POINT — Crews from two vessels, including a Santa Cruz outfit, worked
with the Marine Mammal Center on Sunday morning to rescue a young
humpback whale discovered tangled in commercial fishing gear about two
miles off of Carmel Point on Sunday morning, a crew member said.
Sean Van Sommeran, with the Santa Cruz-based Pelagic Shark Research Center, called the situation "a little accident."
Sommeran was one of eight people on the two boats who helped free the
28-foot-whale after a smaller vessel reported the distressed animal to
the U.S. Coast Guard, he said. Also involved in the rescue were
researchers from Earthwatch and the University of Massachusetts at
Amherst, he said.
pair of divers spent more than 2 1/2 hours pulling four large ball
floats off the whale's tail, Van Sommeran said. The divers had to get
out of the water at one point because killer whales circled nearby; the
orcas eventually moved on and the humpback was freed around 12:55 p.m.
Sommeran said it's common for humpbacks to frequent the area where the
entangled whale was found. It suffered some tail injures, but swam away
on its own, he said.
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