Humpback Caught in Net for Week Finally Free

Hawaii crew cut 45-foot whale free
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 22, 2015 12:38 PM CST
Humpback Caught in Net for Week Finally Free
A camera on pole with flying line cutter knife making the last cut to free the whale.   (062022005843)

Officials say a 45-ton humpback whale entangled with fishing line in Hawaii waters for more than a week is finally free. The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary said yesterday that its craft got within 10 feet of the mammal a day earlier and the crew used a pole equipped with a knife to saw the line free. "There was no sudden thrashing. It would trumpet blow, which is a sign of stress," says Ed Lyman of the sanctuary. "It definitely wasn’t happy with us being there. It didn’t understand." Lyman says several hundred feet of line was cut away.

West Hawaii Today reports that when the 45-foot-long whale swam free, all line but a small piece lodged in a wound was off. Lyman says that the fragment will fall away as the wound heals. The entangled whale was first spotted Feb. 13 off the Big Island's Kona Coast. Experts say such entanglements could result in drowning, starvation, infections, and increased susceptibility to ship strikes. (More humpback whale stories.)

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