The Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) announced Friday that members of their Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team are heading up the efforts to free an entangled humpback whale off New Jersey. CCS was contacted by NOAA Fisheries and asked to help rescue the juvenile whale.
According to a release from CCS, a United States Coast Guard crew from Station Cape May collected information, photos and videos of the whale which is entangled in fishing gear for rescuers. The USCG vessel stayed with the whale overnight until rescue teams arrived.
The MAER team out of Provincetown is being assisted by a Brigantine, New Jersey-based stranding group, according to CCS spokesperson Cathrine Macort.
MAER members arrived at the whale's location, two miles east of the Manasquan Inlet in New Jersey, around 8 a.m. Friday. At 2 p.m., Macort reported that the whale was freed by the response team. MAER director Scott Landry and fellow rescuer Jenn Tackaberry managed to free the whale with one cut through the line. The line had wrapped around the whale's tail, anchoring it to the seafloor, according to the CCS update.
The whale is likely making its seasonal migration south to warmer water calving grounds. Humpbacks head south for the winter and return to cooler climates from Cape Cod to Maine in April where they remain to feed for the summer. To learn more about humpback whales, click here.