Center for Coastal Studies Disentanglement Team Successfully Frees A Minke Whale Off Plymouth

PLYMOUTH – With help from the Plymouth Harbormaster, the National Marine Fisheries Service, commercial fishermen and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the CCS Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team successfully disentangled a minke whale off the coast of Plymouth on Thursday morning. The approximately 20-foot whale, entangled in fishing gear and anchored in place, was at risk of predation by sharks or being struck by vessels.

Despite being anchored by its entanglement, the whale was able to make it to the surface for air and was able to swim in a wide circle. The team used a grappling hook to catch the fishing gear and maintain a close proximity while it assessed the situation. The minke had rope through its mouth and wrapped around its lower jaw. Within hours the MAER team was able to place a hook-shaped knife at the end of a 30 foot pole and freed the whale by cutting the rope leading into its mouth.

Minke whales are the smallest species of baleen whale in New England waters, arriving here in spring to feed on schooling fish. Minke whales are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Many thanks goes to the Plymouth Harbormaster, National Marine Fisheries Service, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation and the commercial fishermen who assisted with this disentanglement.
Since 1984, the Center for Coastal Studies has freed more than 200 large whales and other marine animals from life threatening entanglements using techniques developed by Center staff. the Center for Coastal Studies is federally authorized to perform large whale disentanglement under the authority of a permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
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