Entangled humpback whale freed off Port McNeill in BC
An entangaled humpback whale had to be freed after getting trapped in prawn traps off the coast of Port McNeill in British Columbia, and luckily a Department of Fisheries and Oceans official with training in these matters was only 45 minuntes away when it happened.
Paul Cottrell, the department's acting marine mammal co-ordinator, was in Robson Bight, ensuring there were no whales around as salvage crews tried to recover a sunken fuel truck with 10,000 litres of diesel aboard.
"It's incredible we were on the water, we had the expertise there," he said. "So it was a little bit fortuitous."
A fisherman first spotted the whale in distress so the expert went over to have a look, along with members of the Canadian Coast Guard and members of the Cetus Research and Conservation Society, and they found a young humpback whale struggling to get free.
It appeared that the mammal had got one of the ropes stuck in its mouth.
The rescuers had to slow the mammal down with a buoy and then use special gear to disentangle it, but they didn't get all the traps out by night and the whale swam away. It was then a restless night waiting for it to return.
"If an animal has just a little bit of line ... in its mouth, it can stay there for years and rub and rub and cause infection and damage to the animal and eventually kill the animal,"
However, the next morning they finally spotted the whale at 7:30am and managed to get all the lines out of its mouth.
The quick thinking of the fisherman is what probably saved the mammal's life.