Whale Entanglements Increasing on West Coast

sk_lowercape-whales-clouds-sunset-wow_10-26-16-13SAN DIEGO – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says more whales are visiting coastal waters off the West Coast of the United States, and that is resulting in an increased likelihood for whale entanglements.

Conditions the past two years have been “phenomenal” for near-shore whale sightings, according to NOAA, with Humpback, gray, and even blue whales being spotted at record numbers in near-shore waters.

NOAA has partnered with 300 stranding and entanglement response volunteers along the west coast to deal with the increase of whale strandings. NOAA has conducted a series of training sessions with their local partners from the islands off of Washington State to the waters off San Diego.

“Responding to whales entangled in in fishing gear can be very dangerous, both to the whale and trained responders,” NOAA said in a statement. “Responders need to be able to access, document, and potentially remove the life-threatening entangling gear, while ensuring their safety and no additional harm to the whale.”

Back at home, teams from the Center for Coastal Studies have disentangled 20 marine animals this year.

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