Entangled whale freed off Maui coast

A 40-ton whale entangled with fishing line for over a week has finally been cut free off of Maui.

The giant mammal was first spotted on Friday February 13th dragging a red buoy attached to hundreds of feet of fishing line off the Big Island’s Kona Coast.

The whale’s tale was wrapped several times around with the synthetic line, forcing the whale to rely primarily on its flippers to swim.

Efforts to free the 45-foot long whale began the day it was spotted. On the prior freeing attempts, marine experts attached a tag to the whale in order to track it with satellites.

Although the whale is now free, there is still six feet of line embedded in the wound. The remaining fragment should fall out on its own over time.

Ed Lyman, a large whale entanglement response coordinator, believes the whale has a great chance of surviving and returning to its normal life prior to entanglement

“The fact that the lines are gone now… That’s a big plus and I think her health is still good… You know sometimes you worry about the fact that well you may have cut the animal free but it will never survive anyway… In this case I think the animal has a very good chance of surviving it’s ordeal” said Lyman.

Video credit: L. James – HIHWNMS/ NOAA MMHSRP

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