For another in the file of abnormal occurrences in the Pacific Ocean this year, more whales than ever before have become entangled in commercial fishing gear.
About 50 whales were found since January in the lines that make up mostly commercial crab and lobster fishing gear, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
These are typically long lines with buoys attached that once connected to pots on the ocean floor. In year’s past only about 12 entanglements with whales have been reported, making this year’s numbers roughly four-times the average.
Marine biologists are not exactly sure why more whales are getting themselves crossed with these lines other than the warmer water temperatures luring whales closer to the shore, one biologist supposed who spoke with ABC News in Los Angeles.
When whales do get snagged, they can hang onto the line for sometime, travelling over great miles with the line hooked on a fin or worse yet between its mouth. In one recent case off the coast of San Diego a humpback whale was freed of a line it acquired in 2011.
Off the coast of Palos Verdes, California earlier this summer a blue whale with a long line attached was unable to be rescued. The whale reportedly swam into Mexican waters and was not seen again.
Photo credit: Dreamstime.com