Gray whale entangled in two crab pot lines north of Dillon Beach in Marin County. NOAA MMHSRP permit # 932-1905.
© Lincoln Shaw - The Marine Mammal Center
Gray Whale Rescue
A juvenile gray whale, estimated to be 25 feet long, was spotted by sightseers in Bodega Bay in May 2012, entangled in 25 feet of crab pot line. Together with the National Marine Fisheries Service, the Northern California Whale Entanglement Team (WET), and the U.S. Coast Guard, The Marine Mammal Center coordinated a rescue effort to disentangle the whale.
The rescuers found that the whale was entangled in two sets of commercial crab pot gear, with one of the lines caught in the whale's mouth. The entanglement had become twisted around the whale's jaw as the young cetacean tried to work itself free, making a bad situation even worse.
The rescue team moved in with a small boat, maneuvering it close to the whale. Using a serrated jamming knife attached to a long pole, they were able to cut off the rope from the animal's mouth, allowing it to swim free!
The crab pots, lines, and fishing gear were all gathered up, to prevent future entanglements and also to try to identify the source of this ocean trash.
Read all about the gray whale rescue