PROVINCETOWN, Mass. (WPRI) — A young humpback whale found entangled in a black rope in the waters east of Chatham was rescued Monday by a rescue team out of Provincetown.
According to the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS), the distressed animal was discovered during a whale-tagging study being conducted by a group from Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, who remained with the whale until CCS’s Marine Entanglement Response team arrived.
The whale was free-swimming in a group of 40-50 humpbacks when it was found, according to CCS. The center said it was a challenging rescue operation because the rope was stretched tightly across the whale’s back and there were no trailing loose ends, which would normally be used to disentangle the animal.
CCS said it appeared the whale had been entangled for some time since it was in relatively poor condition.
Using a hook-shaped knife at the end of a 30-foot pole, the team was able to cut the rope and free the whale, according to CCS. The entire operation took about two hours.
CCS said it will continue to monitor the whale’s condition.
Boaters are urged to report any sightings of entangled whales, sharks or sea turtles by calling CCS at 1-800-900-3622 or the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF 16 and maintain a safe distance until a response team arrives.