Rescuers free entangled humpback whale calf off Vancouver Island
A baby humpback whale that was entangled in fishing gear was freed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and the Canadian Coast Guard Monday.
The department says it had received concerning reports of a humpback calf caught in fishing gear while swimming with its mother in Barkley Sound near Folger Island, on the west side of Vancouver Island.
According to the DFO, callers said the whale calf was dragging a small orange scotsman, a float that is attached to fishing gear, and that several fishing lines were wrapped around its tail and flukes.
Once the reports were received, the DFO and coast guard immediately sent crews to the area where they found the whale pair. Crews then attached a satellite tag on the fishing gear to keep an eye on the whales' location.
"A DFO midshore patrol vessel and coast guard crew were quick to go out and deploy a satellite tag on the gear and then maintain watch on the calf and mother," said Lara Sloan with Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Once the whales were tagged, a DFO rescue crew made its way to the scene and began the arduous task of disentangling the whale calf. According to the DFO, rescue crews spent six hours working to free the calf, all under the watchful eye of its mother.
"She stayed close, but did not interfere with the rescue team," said Sloan.
Once the calf was free, rescue crews determined that it was healthy enough to go on its way.
"The rescue team had no concerns about the calf after it was freed," Sloan said.
Anyone who spots an injured or distressed whale is asked to file a report at Fisheries and Oceans Canada's marine mammal website here.