Subject: Entanglement: Mingan Islands RTW (fwd)

mike williamson (williams@www1.wheelock.edu)
Mon, 17 Aug 1998 19:16:31 -0400 (EDT)

Subject: Mingan Islands RTW


The Center for Coastal Studies received a right whale entanglement report
Saturday morning from the Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS, Richard Sears'
group in the Gulf of St. Lawrence).  

The animal was one of two that MICS had been observing for two weeks.  The whale
had been seen less than 48 hours prior free of gear and may have just gotten
entangled the morning of the report.

The original plan was to get a satellite tag buoy up to Richard Sears, but the
animal was too agitated to approach and eventually appeared to free itself from
most of the gear.  The line, which appeared to be green poly line typically used
in the crab pot fishery (which was closed at the time), was entangled on the
left flipper but was probably in contact with the back just behind the blowhole
and the tail stock at an earlier time, as there were lacerations (superficial)
observed.  The whale's behavior suggested that there was gear suspended from the
line around the flipper, but that it probably freed itself of the suspended gear
because it gradually became more active, swam off quickly, and was diving.  It
may still be trailing some line from the flipper.

MICS has been in contact with NEA regarding the 2 right whales observed in the
Gulf, but ID photos are not yet available to attempt a match.

Richard has expressed interest in training and gearing up for disentanglement in
his area.  He notes that there are not many entanglements but that he has some
significant resources (during his field season) in the form of about 20 people
and inflatables, and a wide coverage range.