The Whale Entanglement Team responded to the first humpback whale on April 27, 2014 and attached a telemetry buoy. The next day we were able to relocate the whale and remove the crab pot plus 300 yards of line. As the team attempted to cut the final lines wrapped around the peduncle, the ocean conditions changed dramatically. There were 25-knot winds and 8 to 10 foot swells. We had to cease operations for the safety of the responders and the whale. The great thing is the telemetry buoy enabled us to track the movements of this whale. We were able to free the whale of the rest of the gear later off the coast by Santa Barbara. Click here for full story about humpback on April 27, 2014.
On May 1, 2014, a second humpback whale was spotted entangled in crab pot gear in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Marine Life Studies research team spotted it late in the day during their surveys studying whales and dolphins. The whale was 17 miles offshore from Moss Landing and the research team stood by the whale, documenting its behavior and taking photos of the entanglement. However, it was late in the day and there was no time to get another telemetry buoy onsite. The telemetry buoy we had in cache of tools in Moss Landing was already on the first humpback. This was disheartening to the team as the entanglement was life threatening. Two WET boats searched for this entangled whale for two days. Additionally, the USCG Auxiliary completed a flyover, and we asked local whale watch and fishing charters and private boaters to be on the look out for this whale. Unfortunately, there has not been a re-sight of this whale and without a telemetry buoy attached to this humpback whale; the chances of this animal being re-sighted are very slim. Without removing the entanglement this whale will not survive, as the entanglement was so severe.