On July 27th, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) notified DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries of a distressed humpback whale in Ambrose Channel, one of the busiest waterways in New York Harbor.
The distressed whale was reportedly trapped on the sea floor with its tail entangled by an unknown material, leaving it unable to breathe freely and at severe risk of being struck by ships entering and leaving the harbor.
DEC Division of Law Enforcement’s Marine Unit and the Division of Marine Resources assisted the Atlantic Marine Conservation Society and Center for Coastal Studies free the distressed humpback whale from what turned out to be a commercial fishing trawl net.
The rescue operation took four days as partners that also included Monmouth University and Turtles Fly Too supported the disentanglement team flown in from Massachusetts. A U.S. Corp of Engineers vessel used heavy equipment to secure and haul some of the material the disentanglement team cut away to relieve pressure on the whale’s tail. Finally, on Thursday, July 30, the whale was freed with minimal injury and swam away to continue its journey.
Additional photos and videos are available on DEC’s Facebook.
Photo of ECOs assist in the rescue of a humpback whale.