Crews work to free gray whale from fishing gear off La Push

Crews work to free gray whale from fishing gear off La Push

LA PUSH — Biologists on Wednesday were working to untangle a juvenile gray whale that had become stuck in fishing gear more than 15 miles off La Push.

The condition of the whale was not immediately available Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard reported the entanglement on Twitter on Tuesday. A tracker was placed on the whale to help crews find it Wednesday.

Members of Cascadia Research Collective and SR3, two nonprofits that specialize in whales and whale disentanglements, responded on boats Wednesday with assistance from the Coast Guard, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration official said.

“They’re headed out to see if they can make a run at disentanglement,” said Michael Milstein, NOAA Fisheries regional spokesman.

“It’s a juvenile gray whale that has apparently been entangled for a long time. The lines are deeply embedded in the whale.

“It’s not in top shape at the moment, so were not sure how likely it is to survive,” Milstein added.

“But the team will do its best to get the lines off of it.”

John Calambokidis, research biologist and founder of Cascadia Research Collective, was assisting with the disentanglement when reached by cell phone Wednesday.

He would not provide an update on the rescue or the whale’s condition.

“Nothing I can share at the moment,” Calambokidis said. “It’s an ongoing response right now.”

A spokeswoman with Coast Guard District 13 in Seattle said she had no further information on the rescue.

“It’s not real promising, but were going to do the best we can under the circumstances,” Milstein said in a telephone interview.

Milstein added that there had been four entangled whales off the Washington coast within the last month.

“Usually we get that many in a year, maybe,” Milstein said in a Wednesday email.

“We’re not sure why the number seems to be up this spring, but we are working with fishermen to try to minimize the risk of further entanglements.”

For information on whale entanglements and the NOAA Fisheries response program, click on www.tinyurl.com/PDN-entangledwhales.

________

Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsuladailynews.com.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

(Pixabay.com)
As rates of stoned drivers increase, law enforcement face challenges

WSP trooper said a THC breathalyzer would be a “game changer” for law enforcement and courts.

E. coli. Photo courtesy of the Food and Drug Administration
Seven King County children sickened with E. coli

Seven children in King County have been infected with E. coli, a… Continue reading

Sound Publishing file photo
Remi Frederick, a Village Green employee, receives her first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Jan. 26 in Federal Way.
County health officer looks to community immunity instead of herd immunity

Herd immunity may be unlikely to reach King County anytime soon, but… Continue reading

Courtesy Photo, Public Health - Seattle & King County
Bat positive for rabies found in King County

Sammamish resident bit multiple times

The Moe Vegan food truck serves meals at the city of Kent’s annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner on Nov. 21, 2020. Sound Publishing file photo
King County fire marshals offer regulatory relief to food trucks

39 fire authorities have reportedly agreed to standardize fire codes and inspections.

Governor Jay Inslee. Sound Publishing file photo
New laws will tax the rich, offer aid to low-income workers

Inslee signs bill creating capital gains tax; foes are challenging it in court as unconstitutional.

Washington state case count since March 2020. WA Governor's Office
Pandemic pause: King County remains in Phase 3

No Washington state counties will be rolling back their phase under the… Continue reading

Courtesy of Washington Military Department
Washington gets mobile earthquake alerts

Washington state will have its own earthquake early warning system on May… Continue reading

Most Read