HomeTop StoriesEntangled Whale Spotted Off New England Coast; rescue attempt planned

Entangled Whale Spotted Off New England Coast; rescue attempt planned

31 critically endangered right whales spotted off Nantucket


31 critically endangered right whales spotted off Nantucket

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BLOCK ISLAND, RI – Marine biologists are monitoring an entangled North Atlantic right whale about 50 miles off Rhode Island’s Block Island and will attempt to rescue it if conditions permit.

NOAA Fisheries, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the whale was spotted by an aerial survey team on Tuesday. The adult male was first sighted as a calf in 2011, and was seen unencumbered Cape Cod Bay just last month.

‘General condition of whale is good’

The adult male had rope on both sides of his mouth, but he can swim freely because it is not wrapped around his entire body. The incident is categorized as sublethal injury.

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The entangled whale seen off Block Island.

NOAA Fisheries. Taken under NOAA permit #24359


“Fortunately, the whale is in good general condition and was sighted from the air during the aerial sighting,” NOAA said.

A crew could not immediately get to the whale because it is far offshore. A spokesperson for the Provincetown-based Center for Coastal Studies said they have alerted their network in the area to help find the whale now.

Entanglement can be fatal for whales

The ship strikes and entanglement are the leading causes of death for critically endangered species.

A young female whale in January washed up dead on a Martha’s Vineyard beach. Researchers determined that the rope was found “deeply embedded” in the whale’s tail came from fishing gear in Maine.

There are estimated to be fewer than 360 North Atlantic right whales left in the world.

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