The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week that “Nimbus,” a 15-year-old male North Atlantic Right Whale, was spotted off the coast of Georgia entangled in a fishing net.
A rescue team led by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources was able to remove most of the fishing gear, about 375 feet/114 meters of which was passing through the whale’s mouth and dragging hundreds of feet behind its flukes, according to NOAA.
“Only a short segment of rope remained in the whale’s mouth and, based on similar previous incidents, responders are optimistic that it will dislodge on its own. NOAA Fisheries will examine the removed rope to determine its origin, if possible.”
Gib Brogan, campaign director at Oceana, said in a statement:
“Several critically endangered North Atlantic right whales are suffering today because of a preventable human cause: painful entanglement in fishing gear. This is beyond frustrating and predictable. At this point, it feels like a broken record to point out what we already know: fishing ropes are a constant threat to this critically endangered species. When a North Atlantic right whale becomes entangled in fishing gear, it slowly suffers from exhaustion, lacerations to its body, and suffocation – it’s a violent and painful experience that often leads to death. Although Nimbus was able to be disentangled, this week’s news shows the appalling effect of human actions on whales. With ineffective regulations for entanglements and boat traffic, North Atlantic right whales will not survive without decisive action.”