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Dead Humpback Whale Washes Up on California Beach
The corpse of a humpback whale washed up on Ocean Shores Beach in California, possibly killed by getting wrapped up in fishing lines. The mammoth marine mammal washed up on Ocean Shores Beach north of Ocean City, California and August 11. The whale had been floating offshore for a few days, monitored by scientists from the non-profit Cascadia Research Center. While the researchers are not yet certain, they believe the cause of death was the whale getting entangled in fishing lines. A 25-foot-long dead baleen humpback whale calf lies on the beach after it washed ashore near the east end of Jones Beach in Wantagh, New York, June 10, 2010. (Mario Tama/Getty Images) Commercial fishing gear is a deadly hazard for marine mammals. Fishermen leave lines and nets extending across miles of ocean, which whales cannot see. Whales become entangled and can drown, or can get deeply lacerated by the lines as the whales thrash in an effort to get free. According to CRC researcher John Calambokidis, more than a dozen whales have died by entanglement so far this year. The Coast Guard photographed this dead humpback whale calf which washed up on Ocean Shores Beach in May. (USCG) Second Whale on Same Beach This Summer A juvenile humpback washed up on the same beach on May 1—killed by getting tangled in the gear from a crab-fishing boat. That calf was 1–2 years old and about 28 feet long. Four other entanglements were reported in may—one other fatal. When a whale survives entanglement, it is usually the work of teams from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Large Whale Entanglement Response Network. In April, teams from Sea Life Response, Rehabilitation and Research (SR3), and CRC, which are part of the Response Network, managed to free a whale entangled in fishing lines in Puget Sound, CRC reported on its site. A male gray whale entangled in line from a crab trap stranded on the Long Beach Peninsula in southern Washington about April 13. (John Weldon, NOAA Fisheries) Deadly Entanglements Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of rescue teams, most entanglements end up badly for the whales. Earlier that same month a gray whale died of entanglement and washed ashore on Long Beach Peninsula in southern Washington. That whale was caught in crab-fishing gear, some of which had wedged into its baleen, the filter plates in its mouth which strain out tiny mollusks which many whales feed on. Researchers examine the corpse of the gray whale which died after getting entangled in crab-fishing gear. (John Weldon, NOAA Fisheries) In May CRC and SR3 in conjunction with NOAa and the Coast Guard, managed to remove some fishing line form a juvenile gray whale near La Push, Washington. The whale had several deep lacerations from the lines and some of the lines were so deeply embedded in its flesh the rescue crews had to leave them. The prognosis for this whale is poor, due to its weakness and the magnitude of its wounds, CRC reported.