California wildlife officials asked the Dungeness crab fleet to be on the lookout for a humpback whale reported to be entangled in heavy line from unknown fishing gear.

The whale was seen about five miles west of Cypress Point near Monterey Bay in California’s fishing zone 4 management area, first reported in late January.

In a statement Friday the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said it “is encouraging the commercial fleet and all mariners to be on the lookout for any entangled whale in this area and across California waters. If anyone sights an entangled whale, do not approach, or attempt to disentangle, but please immediately report it to the U.S. Coast Guard or call the Entanglement Reporting Hotline at (877) SOS-WHAL or (877) 767-9425.”

The advisory comes during a successful Dungeness season and “based on recent surveys and historic migration patterns, overall entanglement risk remains low across California waters,” according to the department statement. “CDFW is however issuing this Fleet Advisory for all fishing zones and reminds all in the commercial and recreational fisheries to implement best practices, as described in the Best Practices Guide.”

“These efforts are supported by a strong collaboration with the fishing community, partner agencies and scientific advisors,” said agency Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We appreciate this ongoing collaboration and are committed to protecting our natural heritage while providing fishing opportunities to the citizens of California.”

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