The Marine Animal Entanglement Response (MAER) team from the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS) in Provincetown disentangled a young humpback whale outside Boston on the morning of December 11. The whale had likely been anchored by its entanglement for the better part of a week. While the prognosis for the whale is now much better, it will take time for it to heal.
The whale was first discovered by commercial fishermen on Thursday but sea conditions were too poor for the MAER team to respond that day. Working in cooperation with the fishermen, the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the US Coast Guard, the team was able to respond today during a break in the weather.
The small whale, approximately 30 feet long, had rope wrapped around the base of its tail, leading to fishing gear at the sea floor. From aboard a small inflatable, the team used a hook-shaped knife at the end of a thirty foot pole to make two cuts to the entanglement, which released the whale. Once freed the team spent two hours with the whale to monitor its progress as it slowly moved north, away from the Boston shipping lanes.