Whale Entanglement Hotline: (877) SOS-WHALE (767-9425)
WET is a group of 30 plus unpaid professionals (volunteers) assembled and trained for the purpose of disentangling whales. The authority of this group is under the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program permit #932-1905 on which Pieter Folkens of the Alaska Whale Foundation is a co-investigator. Most of WET’s core members have direct affiliations with other conservation organizations that unofficially support this activity in a variety of ways.
We primarily respond to entangled whales from San Luis Obispo to the Oregon border, but are available to assist in other locations as needed.
WET was convened by Marine Life Studies and Fluke Foundation. Accomplishments of
Marine Life Studies include: the initial team assembly, 877-SOS-WHALE phone number, printed response cards, printed marine mammal guides, a complete tool cache for Monterey Bay, additional tools for San Francisco, a response boat, and a trailer that can carry all equipment.
How you can help!
Prompt reporting is the best way to help the distressed animal. Standing by until responders can arrive is vital. Standing by is so important to keep track of the animal. It is a big ocean out there and without someone standing by to help direct responders the chances of saving that whale is greatly reduced. If not able to standby, it is so valuable to get the exact location (latitude and longitude if possible), direction of travel, and description of gear (color of buoys, etc.). If possible take photos and/or video of the animal but please do not approach to animal - stay at least 150 to 200 yards away.
Ocean users play an important role in efforts to save whales in distress from pain, deformity, and death. Please report injured, entangled, and ship-struck whale concerns to the 24/7 WET hotline at(877) SOS-WHALE (767-9425) or hail the U.S. Coast Guard on VHF CH-16.
Finding the whale is the hardest part of disentanglement. With a telemetry buoy, we can easily resight the whale. We need to be a safe distance from the whales while working, and the lighter, rigid, carbon fiber poles allow us to keep that distance and effectively use the tools. GoPro cameras are essential in the analysis of the entanglement so we can view the whale and the nature of the entanglement above and below the water before deciding the best method in removing the entanglement. Fuel funds for responding boats come out of team members' personal contributions.
A humpback whale entangled in crab fishing gear and struggling to swim was spotted by a whale watch boat in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary around noon on Sunday, April 27. What followed over the next two-and-one-half weeks was an extraordinary rescue effort by trained responders of the Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program along the Central California Coast. Click here for full story.
May 1, 2014: Another entangled whale in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
On May 1, 2014, a second humpback whale was spotted entangled in crab pot gear in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Click here for full story.
Actress and activist Amber Valletta joins the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival in Monterey, California, September 26 – 28, 2012 to raise awareness of entangled whales in California. Marine Life Studies and Fluke Foundation were instrumental in formalizing the Whale Entanglement Team known as WET to disentangle whales from marine debris and fishing gear. The PSA by IFAW will air throughout California.
New Public Service Announcement by IFAW: CLICK HERE TO VIEW
|News Anchor Cheryl Jennings of ABC 7/KGO TV joined the Whale Entanglement Team
in November 2010.
Watch the Video.
We are distributing the Response and Reporting Card to boaters. If interested in a water-proof card for your boat, please contact us.
Marine Life Studies coordinated a hands-on water training for WET in December.
Cheryl McCormick, Executive Director of the American Cetacean Society (ACS), joined us.
The article about WET is now available on page 5.
Some photos taken under the NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) permit #932-1905.