FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2016 September Right Whale Incidents
North Atlantic right whales are the rarest of the large whales that occur in New England waters. Over the last few days, three separate right whale incidents occurred in our region. Two right whale mortalities were reported, and one right whale was reported entangled and alive.
Entangled Right Whale:
On Thursday, September 22, recreational boaters reported an entangled right whale to the US Coast Guard. The large whale towed hundreds of feet of line and buoys from its upper jaw. On Thursday, the Center for Coastal Studies launched a response, and removed more than 200 feet of line and buoys. The disentanglement team cut what they hope was a key line over the whale’s rostrum to help the whale shed the remaining gear. The whale has been identified as an 8-year-old female, #3823.
NOAA recovered the gear, and is analyzing it to determine its origin and, if fishing gear, whether it is compliant with large whale take reduction requirements. The whale is currently in the Gulf of Maine. Researchers are looking for the whale, weather permitting, and will reassess its condition when they are able to locate it. At that point, if the whale appears healthy and is shedding the gear, no further intervention may be required.