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Tangled humpback whale rescued off coast of Boston

CCS officials say that based on the whale's body condition, she was entangled for weeks or months.
Credit: Center for Coastal Studies, NOAA permit 18786-05

BOSTON — A whale was saved by a response team after it got tangled Wednesday off the coast of Boston. 

According to the Center for Coastal Studies (CCS), the Marine Anima, Entanglement Response (MAER) team responded to the whale on Monday afternoon at the southern end of Stellwagen Bank, which is northeast of Provincetown. 

The whale was said to be pulling a "heavy line" that was stuck inside her mouth. CSS Officials said the water conditions were bad and getting worse, so the team attached a satellite tracking buoy to the whale before returning to shore. 

The whale traveled about 25 miles north, outside the Boston Harbor during the night. CCS officials said the whale was tangled in even more fishing gear, which anchored her in place. 

Credit: Center for Coastal Studies, NOAA permit 18786-05

A lobster vessel found the whale and reported the incident to the CCS, who then responded. 

"Carefully approaching the whale on a small inflatable boat, the CCS crew used a hook-shaped knife at the end of a thirty-foot pole to cut the rope that was anchoring her to the seafloor. They then tied large buoys to the rope in her mouth to add drag to the line, and as she moved away the remaining entanglement was pulled free," said CCS officials in a Facebook post

Once the whale was free, it swam away at "high speed." 

CCS officials added that based on the whale's body condition, she was entangled for weeks or months. 

Boaters should report sightings of entangled marine animals to the MAER team (1-800-900-3622) or the US Coast Guard on VHF 16, and stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.

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