News Splash™

Whale Entanglement Team


Whale Entanglement Hotline: (877) SOS-WHALE (767-9425)

The Whale Entanglement Team (WET)  saving whales one at a time.

These are living, breathing animals that are suffering.

Whale disentanglement featured on the PBS and BBC BIG BLUE LIVE, August 2015.
Click here to check out the action in this BBC clip from the program.


PBS and BBC BIG BLUE LIVE, A Three-Part Live Television Event Showcased Marine Life Along America’s West Coast including Monterey Bay. The live Natural History Production was a first for PBS that aired August 31, September 1 and 2, 2015.


Click here for story about WET’s role in the rescue of the entangled humpback whale on May 5, 2016 off Pt. Lobos.

Click here for story about WET’s role in the rescue of the entangled humpback whale on April 21, 2016 off the Big Sur coastline.

Click here for story about how male orca became entangled in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on April 5, 2016.

Click here for Boat Raffle - you could win our former Research Vessel Sweetpea!  












WET needs your help to save these whales from a slow, painful death.


Make a Whale Smile Campaign

Dollar for Dollar match up to $5000.00 

Whale Rescue Research Vessel

 for Central California



To donate by check please make payable to Marine Life Studies with WET on the memo line and send to: PO Box 163, Moss Landing, CA 95039

Dollar for Dollar match up to $5000.00 for Whale Rescue Research Vessel.


YouTube Video - Whale Entanglement Team


Read and watch video about 4-day rescue over Fourth of July, 2015:  Entangled humpback freed near Farrallon Islands

We have outgrown our 19’ boat. A larger vessel was needed that could accommodate all of Marine Life Studies' programs, including WET, and 
the Albin 40' North Sea Cutter was the best fit. The Albin can hold all the equipment that we need for a complete response when there is a report of an entangled whale in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


We got the larger vessel, a 2006 40-foot Albin North Sea Cutter, here just in the nick of time.

We arrived with the Albin at the Moss Landing Harbor on June 12th in the evening and received a call by noon on June 14th to mount a response as there was an entangled whale reported in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Additionally, there were 2 whales in July disentangled, made possible because of the Albin, Marine Life Studies' Whale Rescue Research Vessel, being first on scene. We had to travel such a long distance for the responses that our 19' Donzi would not of gone the distance as it had a very limited range.


We are proud that our Whale Rescue Research Vessel was crucial in the successful disentanglement of the humpback whales in July by being first on the scene. It was worth the debt of $60,000. Thanks to many generous donations in 2015, the amount owed is reduced to $50,164. We still need your help to pay it off and help to purchase new equipment needed for WET. Consider setting up an automatic monthly recurring donation.


All funds go directly to support the Whale Entanglement Team, a program of Marine Life Studies, an all-volunteer organization, including the Executive Director, Peggy Stap. We have no paid staff.


Click here to read: For whale rescues, Moss Landing team needs bigger boat

Moss Landing team eying a 40-foot Albin that can carry all the equipment needed to rescue a whale from a life-threatening entanglement. Marine Life Studies has secured two anonymous donors who will match donations up to $150,000. Stap is asking the public to chip in the rest. "No donation is too small," Stap said. "Everyone can help save whales." 

The number of entangled whales significantly increased in 2015.

The number of reported entanglements has significantly increased in central California over the last couple years. The larger, more capable vessel enables us to carry all the equipment needed for a full response on board at all times. This has greatly reduced our response time, enabling more whales the chance to be rescued from life-threatening entanglements. In 2015 there were 25 confirmed entanglement reports with 21 of them here in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. 


Click here to read article about WET!


About WET:

WET is a group of unpaid professionals (volunteers) assembled and trained for the purpose of supporting large whale entanglement response. All work is directed under the authority of NOAA's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, and are a member of California Whale Rescue Network. WET was founded by Peggy Stap, Executive Director of Marine Life Studies and Mary Whitney, Founder of 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, a trailer, Wet on Wheels, that can carry all equipment including a roll-up hypalon boat with motor, and in 2015 Marine Life Studies acquired the new Whale Rescue Research Vessel, fully equipped for rapid whale rescue response located in Moss Landing, center of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.


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 100 to 150 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.

Support WET - Donate Today! 
Immediate needs:

      • GPS/Argos telemetry package with buoy
      • Garmin 1040xs with GMR18 XHD Radar Dome and transducer 
      • Still need to raise $54,200 toward loan for the Whale Rescue Research Vessel for Central California 
      • Fixed RDF Antennae with RDF Wideband Radio Direction Finding Receiver (to pick up VHF signal of GPS/Argos telemetry
      • Two Mac Book Pro Laptop Computers with solid state hard drive (our computers are outdated, we have a Mac Book Laptop 2003 and 2008)
      5 GoPro cameras, flash cards and additional batteries    
      1 set carbon fiber pole for assessing
      • Mustang Suits for crew


Resighting a whale is the hardest part of disentanglement if unable to disentangle due to weather conditions, end of day, etc. 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. 


Whale Entanglement Team (WET) Disentangles Humpback Whale on October 29, 2014 in Monterey Bay. Click here for the full story.


8/28/14 Entangled Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay - Blue Ocean Whale Watch identifies entangled whale and the Whale Entanglement Team is ready to respond. Click here to full story.


Happy Ending – Humpback whale disentangled May in Santa Barbara re-sighted in Monterey Bay 7/5/14.  Click here for full story.


May 14, 2014:  WET successfully disentangled a humpback whale.
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.





Amber_WET_PSA2012Actress 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






All donations are tax deductible.


News Anchor Cheryl Jennings of ABC 7/KGO TV joined the Whale Entanglement Team
in November 2010.
Watch the Video.



If interested in a water-proof Response and Reporting Card card for your boat, please contact us.


W.E.T. Handout for Response and Reporting Card










  Download a pdf of the WET Response and Reporting Card


Please call (877) SOS-WHALE immediately to report an entangled whale, dolphin or other marine mammal.

120418_Er_entangle_up 120418_Er_entangle_down




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. 


 PDF file 12 pages "Spyhopper, ACS Newsletter


Some photos taken under the NOAA Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (MMHSRP) permit #932-1905.



charity team building . article generator . Upper Mount Gravatt Physio