This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Video: Rescue Of 80-Foot Blue Wale Snared In Fishing Equipment Continues
About four miles off the Orange County Coast, a roughly 80-foot long blue whale is dragging roughly 200-feet of crab traps and fishing equipment, weighing the animal down and threatening to drag it under the ocean's surface. After first being spotted by a whale-watching boat on Monday, rescuers on Tuesday are continuing to try and free the whale from its weight, according to KTLA.
Folks aboard the first tour of Capt. Dave's Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari tour on Monday captured the above video of the whale. First spotted around 9:30 a.m., Capt. Tom Southern noticed the whale wasn't swimming normally, and appeared to have difficulty staying at the surface; the whale's chin was out of the water, and the whale wasn't lifting its tail.
Southern then noticed a significant amount of blue polypropylene line tied to both the whale and a coupe of buoys the whale was dragging along. Southern radioed to report the entrapped animal, and rescuers spent the greater part of Monday trying to free the whale, according to the OC Register.
Rescuers made six attempts on Monday to disentangle and free the whale, but the operation was called off when the whale dove out of site in the evening. On Tuesday, rescuers must first locate the whale before, once again, attempting to cut the animal free from the fishing equipment. While rescuers had attached a tracking buoy to the animal, they removed it in the evening fearing it might be too heavy, and could exhaust the whale.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has documented precisely 40 different instances of whale entanglement off the California coast so far this year. In 2015, 65 animals were reportedly ensnared.
Last year, a different blue whale was spotted also trapped in some fishing line. That whale was never found, but one in 2012 was freed successfully.
Here are some photos of this particular animal, currently off the Orange County coast.