Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NOAA Team Plans Whale Disentanglement Attempt

Date:
January 4, 2005
Source:
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Summary:
NOAA and its rescue team partners are off the South Carolina coast attempting to relocate a young endangered right whale entangled in ropes and buoys.

Aerial image of entangled right whale off the Georgia coast taken Dec. 21, 2004.
Credit: Wildlife Trust/NOAA Fisheries

Dec. 30, 2004 — NOAA and its rescue team partners are off the South Carolina coast attempting to relocate a young endangered right whale entangled in ropes and buoys. The team is planning a rescue attempt to remove the ropes on Friday.

"This is a severe entanglement involving ropes wrapped tightly around the head of a young whale that is still growing. We do not know at this time whether one or both of its flippers are involved. These type of head and flipper wraps are the hardest disentanglements to attempt," said Teri Rowles, lead veterinarian for NOAA Fisheries and the director of the nation's Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program. "We have assembled some of the best marine mammal scientists and experts in the world in this effort. We will try to cut the tight lines around the head, and remove as much of the rope and gear as we possibly can with our current technology."

The team plans to relocate the whale, assess the entanglement and the animal's health, and finalize a rope and gear removal plan. If possible, they will attempt to remove as much rope and gear as possible on Friday. The team will use specially constructed tools to try to remove the lines and other gear. Rescue team members are concerned about the dangers associated with disentanglements. Sea conditions are rough and opportunities to disentangle the animal may be infrequent. The team does not expect it will be able to completely disentangle the whale, but it may survive if most of the restricting lines are freed and the weight is removed.

Members of the rescue team include disentanglement and whale experts from the Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass., the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Duke University, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the U.S. Coast Guard and NOAA Fisheries. Many team members are veterans of previous disentanglement efforts. The Coast Guards cutter, Yellowfin, is being used for this segment of the disentanglement effort. The Coast Guard is also providing aerial support.

"Our hope is to make several cuts to reduce the amount of strain on the animal," says Charles "Stormy" Mayo, senior scientist at the Center for Coastal Studies, who pioneered whale disentanglement methods more than 20 years ago and now works under a federal contract overseen by NOAA Fisheries. "We need to reduce the amount of weight this mammal is carrying, including the hundreds of feet of fishing line which we believe is weighed down by additional gear we cannot see at the water line."

The whale was first reported as entangled on December 6 off the coast of North Carolina. On December 21, a shipboard team relocated the whale off the coast of Georgia with the help of the Wildlife Trust Aerial surveillance team aboard a NOAA aircraft. The team attached a telemetry buoy to the trailing gear to track the whale's position. The whale initially headed south to Jacksonville, Fla., but then turned around and has been traveling north.

The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered off American coasts. After a period of intense whaling in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was on the brink of extinction. Although whaling practices have ceased, right whales face serious risks from ship collisions and entanglements in fishing gear and marine debris. The North Atlantic right whale population is now estimated to be approximately 300 animals and is listed as "Endangered" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. Right whales and all other species of marine mammals are protected under the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972.

NOAA Fisheries is dedicated to protecting and preserving the nation's living marine resources and their habitat through scientific research, management and enforcement. NOAA Fisheries provides effective stewardship of these resources for the benefit of the nation, supporting coastal communities that depend upon them, and helping to provide safe and healthy seafood to consumers and recreational opportunities for the American public.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "NOAA Team Plans Whale Disentanglement Attempt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104115817.htm>.
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. (2005, January 4). NOAA Team Plans Whale Disentanglement Attempt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104115817.htm
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. "NOAA Team Plans Whale Disentanglement Attempt." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050104115817.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

A Centuries' Old British Tradition Is Far from a Swan Song

AFP (July 19, 2014) As if it weren't enough that the Queen is the Sovereign of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms, she is also the owner of all Britain's unmarked swans. Duration: 02:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins