Crabbers aid entangled humpback whale

PACIFIC OCEAN — Karl Peek, skipper of the commercial crabbing vessel Pacific Girl, was heading out of Grays Harbor with his crew in the morning to check gear May 6 when they saw a young humpback, nearly 40 feet long, resting on the surface of the water.

As the boat drew near, the reason for the whale’s near immobility became clear: It was tangled in crab pot gear, the trailing floats covered in algae, and barely able to surface.

There is little to no incentive for fishermen to report tangled whales, according to a workshop report on whale entanglement issues held by the National Marine Fisheries Service last November. If anything, there are negative perceptions about reporting entangled whales. Who knows – it might lead to more gear regulations.

But Peek and his crew stayed with the whale and called the Coast Guard.

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