SANTA BARBARA (CBS SF) — Rescuers saved a humpback whale that had been entangled in a crab pot line off the California coast this week.
The whale was spotted two weeks ago near Monterey, with a steel rope around its tail and dragging a huge crab trap. Marine biologists were able to remove the trap, but weather kept them from getting to the rope.
The humpback was tracked down near Santa Barbara, where the rescuers were able to remove the line on Wednesday.
Justin Viezbicke of the National Marine Fisheries Service told the San Jose Mercury News that the whale was a “subadult.” The agency was unable to determine if the humpback was a male or female.
Rescuers said if the rope had stayed on much longer, the tail of the humpback could have been severed.
The newspaper reported that another entangled whale, also a humpback, was spotted off the California coast on May 1st. That humpback has not been found, and rescuers believed it had drowned.