Disentanglement team member with hook-shaped knife on pole approaching entangled humpback, Banjo. Taken on 5/12/07 off Race Point, Provincetown. PCCS image taken under NOAA Fisheries permit 932-1489, under the authority of the US Endangered Species Act."
Banjo was freed off Race Point, Provincetown this past Saturday
n endangered humpback whale entangled in marine rope off Race Point, was freed by the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies (PCCS) on Saturday. The PCCS humpback whale research team documented the markings on the underside of the flukes and determined the whale was Banjo, first identified in the spring of 2006.
At approximately 8:00 a.m. the disentanglement team received a report of an entangled whale from Coast Guard station Provincetown. The whale was spotted and initially reported by a fisheries research group aboard the vessel West Cove, which was conducting surveys for the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.
The disentanglement team aboard the 40 foot R/V Ibis (shown here in a previous rescue) found the humpback whale thrashing at the surface with three wraps of rope around the base of its flukes when they arrived on scene at 10 a.m. The whale had numerous cuts and scrapes from the entanglement. The PCCS team determined the best option for the whale was to try to release it immediately. They maneuvered the vessel behind the animal to cut the wraps using a hook knife attached to the tip of a long pole. Initial attempts to approach the whale failed, as sea conditions worsened. Finally, the team succeeded, making one cut which freed the whale of all gear. The whale lay at the surface a few moments before swimming away.
The operation would not have been possible without the dedication of the crew aboard the West Cove and the communications of the USCG.
Humpback Whale Facts:
All federally authorized large whale disentanglement activities along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. are conducted by the Atlantic Large Whale Disentanglement Network, a program of the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies operating under contract with NOAA Fisheries Service. Leave a comment