A young female humpback whale found in the Port of Wilmington, Delaware last week is believed to have died because it was entangled in fishing gear. The gear was found tangled around the pectoral fins of the dead whale which also had a significant wound in its mouth resulting from the presence of fishing line/rope lodged in the animal’s throat. The entangled gear was collected and NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement will inspect it to see if it was properly labelled in the hope of discovering who owned the gear. This will help officials identify how the whale became entangled in the gear and what action needs to be taken which can be anything from educational instructions to prosecution. Fishing gear and nets are the single biggest killer of whales, dolphins and porpoises globally with over 300,000 cetaceans dying each year after becoming entangled in fishing equipment.
Photo Credit: Andy King