I received this e mail from my cousin who volunteers for seal watch and such in
Maui. He says this is the fourth
entanglement this winter.
From: "Ed Lyman - NOAA Federal" <ed.lyman@xxxxxxxx <mailto:ed.lyman@xxxxxxxx>>
Date: Jan 13, 2018 11:15 AM
Subject: Update - 1/12/2018: Adult humpback whale reported yesterday entangled
in gear now free....
To: "Ed Lyman - NOAA Federal Edward" <Ed.lyman@xxxxxxxx
Yesterday, January 12, 2018 the whale first reported yesterday entangled off
the Pali lookout of Maui was re-engaged by an authorized team of trained
responders. The team coordinated by the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale
National Marine Sanctuary (Sanctuary), working under the authorization of NOAA
Fisheries Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program (permit
#18786-02 ), included personnel from the Sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries Pacific
Islands Region, West Maui Response team (Ultimate Whale Watch), Turtle Island
Restoration Network, Whaleman Foundation , and others. The animal was tracked
using an telemetry buoy attached to the remaining trailing gear, and was
re-acquired between Pu'u Olai and Molokini, Maui at approximately 08:38 HST.
The team deployed the inflatable and took a very slow, methodical approach in
re-acquiring the trailing gear which was running from the right side of the
animal’s mouth. Over a one hour period they slowly moved up the line
attempting to keep the animal calm. Eventually the team moved up to within 50
feet of the animal that was at depth and in a head up/ tail down posture.
At this point (10:20 HST) it is believed with the steady tension on the line
and the favorable orientation of the animal (mouth facing up), that the
remaining gear was removed from the animal’s mouth . The animal immediately
became surface active with multiple breaches, and high speed travel. The
support boat attempted to stay with the animal as the approach team collected
the gear. Unfortunately, after approximately 15 minutes the fast-moving animal
Again, many thanks to the crew of the fishing vessel Layla, the Hawaiian Island
Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, NOAA Fisheries’ Office of Protected
Resources, NOAA Fisheries Pacific Islands Region, U. S. Coast Guard (Station
Maui and Sector Command), West Maui response team (Ultimate Whale Watch), NOAA
Office of Law Enforcement, , State, Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission, NOAA
Corps, Turtle Island Restoration Network, Whaleman Foundation, and many others.
The efforts of all were greatly appreciated. This is the fifth confirmed large
whale entanglement case and the second successful disentanglement effort of the
We are still awaiting word from our partners on the possible identity of the
gear. We did scan the gear for possible microchips and found none. The gear
measured more than 285 feet and is a 3/8 braided line. With the removal of
gear, we believe the animal has an excellent chance of surviving.
Mariners are asked to keep a sharp lookout for entangled animals, but not to
approach closely or attempt to free them. While well-intentioned, freeing a
40-ton animal is extremely dangerous for the animal and the would-be rescuer.
Getting in the water is especially dangerous. People have been killed. As a
result, only trained and well-equipped responders that are authorized under
NOAA Fisheries’ Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program are
permitted to disentangle whales. If you sight any marine mammal in distress,
maintain 100 yards distance and please call the NOAA Fisheries' 24/7 response
Hotline at 1 888 256-9840 <>. If unable to call, please radio the U.S. Coast
Guard on VHF CH. 16, and they will relay the report.
The members-only, North Pacific Large Whale Entanglement Response Website
(www.whaledisentanglement.org <http://www.whaledisentanglement.org/>) will be
updated with additional information and images.