Thursday, 25 July 2013

Endangered Northern Right whale saved by local fishermen off Virginia Beach - Video

Northern Right whale caught in fishing gear
July 2013. Local Virginia Beach fishermen, Captain "Pat Foster" and Mate "Adrian Colaprete", who run a charter fishing boat based out of Rudee Inlet, rescue endangered Northern Right whale that had become entangled in some rope or fishing gear.

They were about 50 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach helping a team of scientists conduct research studies offshore. Pat spotted a whale swimming irregularly in the distance and decided to have a closer look. The team identified the whale as an endangered species of the Northern Right whale and noted the whale was in serious danger. The whale was tangled in some sort of fishing ropes or trap line and was slowly dragging the fishing gear behind it.

Pat and Adrian decided they would have to try and assess the situation a little further and find out if they could do something to help the whale. After identifying the whale's movement pattern the team decided Adrian would get in the water with the whale and take a closer look. When Adrian swam up to the whale he sensed the whale was welcoming his help and he made the decision to cut the rope tangling the whale to the line of fishing gear. After the rope was cut the tangled fishing gear sank to the bottom of the ocean and the whale swam away free.

World's most endangered whale
The North Atlantic right whale is the most endangered great whale, with a population of less than 400. Human activity-particularly ship collisions and entanglement in commercial fishing gear-is the most common cause of North Atlantic right whale deaths. Because females do not become sexually mature until ten years of age and give birth to a single calf after a yearlong pregnancy, populations grow slowly.

The most common causes of mortality for Northern Right whales is due to getting tangled in fishing gear and ship collisions.

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