Examination of an entangled male gray whale on May 4 revealed it was a calf that died after being caught in crab pot lines, near Long Beach Peninsula in Washington State.
The necropsy showed the whale’s age/size was consistent with when mothers with calves migrate north from their winter breeding and calving grounds in Baja to their feeding areas primarily in Arctic waters. Their migration is often close to shore and through areas with where many thousands of crab pots occur.
The whale calf was in excellent body condition, indicating it had been in good health prior to experiencing a more sudden death. Incidences of whale entanglement have increased in recent years along the West Coast, most dramatically with humpback whales off California, and have been of growing concern, prompting increased efforts to identify solutions as well as help disentangle whales when encountered which are still alive.