Thursday, April 12, 2012

Update on Entangled Humpback whale, Checkmark.


On September 15, 2011, the crew and passengers of the Tails of the Sea sighted an entangled humpback whale. This whale, later identified as Checkmark, had a single line of gear cutting into the leading edge of the fluke. The PCCS Disentanglement Team attempted to disentangle the whale that same day but rescue attempts were suspended due to poor weather conditions. Checkmark was not seen again in 2011. Although the entanglement was not life-threatening at the time, the weight of the trailing line was causing the gear to cut into the fluke and could eventually cause the whale to lose that part of the tail. We all hoped that Checkmark could shed the gear on its own.

On April 1, 2012, Checkmark was sighted northeast of Provincetown, MA and is gear-free!!! PCCS reported that all the gear was gone and the whale seemed to be in good condition. Although Checkmark’s story had a happy ending, this whale now has a groove in the leading edge of the fluke where the gear was wedged; a permanent reminder of the seriousness of whale/human/fisheries interactions. Thanks to PCCS for providing this great update on Checkmark!

If you do see an entangled whale, sea turtle or large shark, please report this sighting immediately to the PCCS Disentanglement Network at 1-800-900-3622. And if you can, please stay with the animal until the rescue team arrives on site.