Another Whale Caught in Crab Line

Marine mammal rescuers are sure getting a work out lately.

By Lori Preuitt
|  Tuesday, May 15, 2012  |  Updated 1:15 PM PDT
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Another Whale Caught in Crab Line

These are the rescuers hard at work. It is a dangerous job getting this close to a wild whale, but they think it is worth the risk. In this case they were able to finish with the scream "freedom."

For the third time in the past few weeks, a whale has been found tangled in a crab pot line off the California coast.

The latest whale was near Dillon Beach in Bodega Bay. The massive mammal was first spotted hanging out near the shoreline last week, but after a few days there, authorities determined that it needed help. The whale was freed over the weekend by the U.S. Coast Guard and The Marine Mammal Center.

The mammal experts, which included a Whale Entanglement Team, said the gray whale was an 18- to 20-foot long juvenile with a crab pot line wrapped around and inside the young whale's mouth.

They said two buoys were also attached to the whale.

"With careful precision, the team slowly maneuvered the boat close and began the meticulous job of cutting away the line. Their persistence paid off and three hours later the line was cut free. At the moment the line disappeared, the whale immediately moved forward freeing his pectoral fin and he swam off! Freed at last!" the mammal center stated in a news release. 

This is the third time a whale has needed rescue in the recent past. The last one was just a week ago in Humboldt Bay when a whale's tale was caught on a crab pot line. The U.S. Coast Guard, the H.U.S. Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the North Coast Marine Mammal Center spent hours chasing down the creature so they could untangle the lines.

The first gray whale to get tangled in fishing line started its journey off the coast of Orange County in mid-April only to be untangled by a fisherman and his crew near Bodega Bay. That rescue was spur-of-the-moment. The boat captain said he has not heard that a whale was in need of help and only did it because he knew he could.

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