Please select your home edition
Edition
SWC newsletters (top)

NOAA Aerial Whale Survey Team assists with disentangling North Atlantic Right Whale

by NOAA Fisheries 23 Jul 2019 11:39 UTC
NOAA aerial team and Campobello Whale Rescue team locate entangled right whale #4423. © Robert Provost / DFO Caan

On July 9, 2019 while photographing right whales for identification, the NOAA Fisheries aerial whale survey team re-sighted a known entangled whale. They then assisted with relocating it for Canadian rescuers, and helped them a few days later by monitoring from above. As the rescue team worked to free the line, the aerial crew let them know how the entanglement appeared to change as a result of their efforts.

The Northeast Fisheries Science Center's aerial whale survey team is flying in Canada this summer, conducting aerial surveys to document where, and which, right whales are using habitat in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On July 9 while photographing right whales for individual identification, they resighted a known entangled animal, #4440, late in the day.

Although the Campobello Whale Rescue Team was in the area aboard their rescue vessel, the light was fading and aircraft's fuel was low. The NOAA aerial team had to return to base before the rescuers arrived at the whale, and they could not relocate it.

Overnight examination of images taken that day revealed that another known entangled animal, a 5-year-old male (#4423) was also in the area where #4440 was sighted.

During the NOAA survey flight on July 11, the team resighted #4423 mid-morning and notified the Campobello Whale Rescue Team, which was in the area. NOAA stood by and helped direct the rescue team to the whale. The NOAA plane and crew returned to base to refuel. A Fisheries and Oceans Canada Conservation and Protection patrol plane took over operations at the scene.

The NOAA team returned to the area in the afternoon, and stayed on the whale disentanglement to help rescuers by documenting and relaying changes in the gear configuration to them as they worked to release the whale. The NOAA plane stayed in the area as long as fuel would allow, leaving shortly before operations ended for the day.

Related Articles

Busy Atlantic hurricane season is expected
Multiple climate factors indicate above-normal activity is most likely An above-normal 2020 Atlantic hurricane season is expected, according to forecasters with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service. Posted on 24 May
Team frees entangled humpback whale
Multiple sets of fishing gear were so heavy, they 'anchored the whale in place' A trained response team on Monday freed a humpback whale in Monterey Bay. It had become so severely entangled and weighed down by commercial dungeness crab fishing gear that it could not move. Posted on 23 May
Teamwork saves harbor seal
Volunteers and experts formed a rescue team to safely release the seal A series of fortunate events recently led to a happy ending for a harbor seal. It had gotten its canine teeth stuck in the steel grated walkway at the hatchery in Valdez. Posted on 22 May
Technology unlocks the world of beaked whales
It takes a combination of luck and perseverance to study them. Beaked whales are a fascinating and elusive group of cetacean species. Beaked whales live in deep water environments, and dive to incredible depths for long periods of time, making them mysterious and difficult to find. Posted on 16 May
How well do you know Hawaii's hawksbill turtles?
This Endangered Species Day, take our 10-question quiz to find out! May 15 marks Endangered Species Day, a time when we celebrate the protection of endangered species and their habitat. Hawai'i is often called the endangered species "capital" of the nation. Posted on 15 May
Importance of Sea Stars in deep-sea ecosystems
Key finding of a new article by Christopher L. Mah Sea stars play an important role in deep-sea ecosystems, especially as predators of sponges and corals (mostly octocorals). Posted on 3 May
Teams free entangled humpback whale
Fast coordination by trained responders leads to safe and successful outcome A trained team freed a humpback whale entangled in lines from a prawn trap set off Santa Cruz Island on Tuesday afternoon, April 14, 2020. Posted on 29 Apr
Restoring Gulf 10 years after Deepwater Horizon
See how we're working with partners and Gulf communities to restore its fisheries and habitats The impacts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill affected the entire Gulf ecosystem. Oil sank down to the ocean floor, mixed into the water column, seeped into marshes, and soiled beaches. Animals swam through it, inhaled it, and even ingested the oil. Posted on 28 Apr
One program's quest to save endangered turtles
A new StoryMap details the struggles faced by hawksbill sea turtle population In Hawaii, fewer than 200 nesting female hawksbill sea turtles have been documented in the last 30 years. These turtles—known as honu'ea in Hawaiian—make up one of the most endangered sea turtle populations in the world. Posted on 19 Apr
10 years after Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Learn more about our efforts to restore the Gulf's ecosystem since then This April, NOAA is commemorating 10 years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest U.S. offshore oil spill in history, resulting in the tragic loss of human and marine life. Posted on 18 Apr
MBW newsletters (top)