Update on Right Whale Entanglement, Bay of Fundy (fwd)

From: mike williamson (williams@www1.wheelock.edu)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 07:57:02 EDT

Hi All

Further to the email sent earlier today, the entangled whale was sighted
by a whale watch vessel and called in to the Whale Emergency Network.
TIME & LOCATION: 1510 (Atlantic Time) at 44 33.1'N 66 34.3'W

PHOTO IDENTIFICATION: Weather conditions were not conducive to photo
identification (sea state 3-4, wind speed 20-25 knots), however
photographs were taken of the gear and these will be sent to the Center
for Coastal Studies (CCS).

BEHAVIOUR: 2 to 3 breaths before diving for approximately 10 minutes.

DESCRIPTION OF GEAR: Initial reports stated that there were three bullet
buoys, they now appear to be 3 yellow round plastic buoys (about the
size of a trawl buoy), midline of the animal. There is some movement in
the buoys and they appear to be floating slightly off the whale as it
surfaces, giving the impression that the gear is not as tightly wrapped
as initally thought. The line is thought to be 3/8 inch thick, but this
was not confirmed. Observers were unable to determine where the line is
coming from, ie the mouth or the flipper, and were unable to see if
there was trailing line.

All this information was forwarded by the Whale Emergency Network to CCS
who have passed it on to the Delaware. Last reports from the Delaware
were they had found the whale and were trying to tag it. Further
attempts will be made tommorrow, weather dependent, by Delaware and New
England Aquarium (NEAq).

CCS received a fax from Bruce Mate on the Delaware II this morning which
describes the gear already removed from the whale.

Two large bullet buoys, painted fluorescent orange (old paint) laced
together butt to butt, through which passes a length of 1 1/2 inch
black PVC pipe (anchored between the buoys with a five inch nail.) This
pipe extends about 18 inches though the buoys.
The buoy is attached to the line by a swivel.
The line attached to the buoy, which was retrieved is described as 3/8
inch braided nylon, 80 feet long. Five inches from the end that
released (or broke) from the whale, a second, short piece of line is
hitched in, as if to form a sort of bridle. The ends of this short line
are frayed, as if broken.

If anyone sees this animal, please contact the Whale Emergency Network
via pager (902) 839 3376 or via Fundy Traffic Channel 14. Further
information will follow.

Thank you.

Deb Tobin
Whale Emergency Network Coordinator
East Coast Ecosystems
Freeport, Nova Scotia
(902) 839 2962

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