Blue whale off Dana Point entangled in fishing gear; federal team of experts en route to resuce it

Posted at 3:04 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-27 20:23:19-04

A team of federal experts was dispatched to Dana Point Monday to help free a whale tangled up in fishing gear.

The blue whale was spotted Monday morning, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials believe it's the same one that was sighted Sunday about 30 miles off the San Diego shoreline, said the NOAA's Michael Milstein.

"It's trailing the same type of gear" that was seen hobbling the 60- to 80-foot whale in the San Diego area Sunday, Milstein said.

"We have a disentanglement team heading out to the whale at this time," Milstein said early this afternoon.

It is rare for blue whales to get tangled up in fishing gear because they do not usually forage for food so close to shore, Milstein said.

A blue whale got tangled up in fishing gear last fall, and this would be the second one in two years, he said.

A fisherman called authorities about the whale near San Diego, but since it was some 30 miles offshore, it was deemed too far away for a rescue, Milstein said.

The blue whale was spotted just about three miles off Dana Point's shoreline, which was close enough to attempt a rescue, Milstein said.