CCS Team Frees Minke Whale from Entanglement, Shark

A screen shot of underwater footage taken of an entangled minke whale freed by the Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team Thursday, August 1 off Rockport. The CCS video was taken under NOAA permit #18786-03.

PROVINCETOWN – The Center for Coastal Studies’ Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team freed an entangled minke whale last Thursday off Rockport and saved it from a great white shark.

The 18-foot whale was anchored by gear with rope through its mouth and around its tail.

The whale had a deep cut from the rope and minor bleeding had attracted a great white.

A video showing the extent of the entanglement can be viewed below.

The shark moved the MAER team from a small inflatable boat to its larger response vessel, Ibis.

The team used a grappling hook to get hold of the entanglement and keep the whale within reach of long poles outfitted with hook-shaped knives.

The team cut the wraps of rope around its tail. This allowed the whale to swim normally. The team held onto the rope caught in its mouth as it swam forward. The whale released the rope from its mouth within moments and swam off at a high speed.

The whale was first spotted by a commercial fisherman, who immediately reported the entanglement and remained at the scene until the MAER team arrived from Provincetown.

The Center for Coastal Studies is recognizing the effort of the fisherman for reporting the entanglement and staying by the whale.

The Rockport Harbormaster and responders from the National Marine Fisheries Service also supported the MAER team during the disentanglement.

Boaters are urged to report entanglement sightings of whales, sea turtles or sharks to the MAER team at 800-900-3622 or the US Coast Guard on VHF 16. They are also asked to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.

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