MAER frees whale outside Chatham Harbor Saturday

Second time Provincetown Coastal Studies team has freed "Hiatus" this summer


   PCCS responders work to free entangled humpback whale Hiatus. "PCCS image taken under NOAA permit 932-1905 with authority of the ESA."

The Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies' Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) freed an entangled whale outside of Chatham Harbor Saturday. The young humpback is known to the team, according to PCCS spokesperson Cathrin Macort. The whale named Hiatus was freed by a team in roughly the same spot last month, according to Macort.

This time, Hiatus was discovered by tuna fishermen who stayed with him until the MAER team arrived. From a small inflatable boat, the team freed Hiatus from ropes wrapped around his body and wound through his mouth using a twenty-foot pole and a sharp knife.

Hiatus was first freed by the team on July 5.  "This was very unusual and not a pleasant coincidence," said Scott Landry, director of the entanglement response program. "We'd like to think that whales could learn to avoid entanglements but we know that the issue may be more complicated than that. Hopefully Hiatus will have a bit of time to heal from these events."

Boaters are encouraged to keep watch for marine animals in similar situations and to report sightings immediately by calling the MAER Hotline at 800-900-3622 or the United States Coast Guard. Boaters are asked to remain with the animal at a safe distance until rescuers arrive. Most recently, MAER freed two endangered leatherback turtles off Wellfleet and Truro.

CapeCodToday.com welcomes thoughtful comments and the varied opinions of our readers. We are in no way obligated to post or allow comments that our moderators deem inappropriate. We reserve the right to delete comments we perceive as profane, vulgar, threatening, offensive, racially-biased, homophobic, slanderous, hateful or just plain rude. Commenters may not attack or insult other commenters, readers or writers. Commenters who persist in posting inappropriate comments will be banned from commenting on CapeCodToday.com.