Wednesday August 10th, 2022 10:41AM

Scientists work to free entangled whale off Southeastern coast

By The Associated Press
<p>Scientists working to disentangle a young Atlantic right whale were aided by calm seas and bright moon overnight and expected favorable conditions Friday.</p><p>Rescue team workers stayed overnight within a half-mile of the 2-year-old whale as it swam south after being spotted Thursday about 14 miles off the Charleston coast, said Theresa Barbo of the Provincetown, Mass.-based Center for Coastal Studies.</p><p>The ocean's "flat, calm, glossy surface" and the light from a nearly full moon helped them keep track of the whale until daylight, Barbo said.</p><p>Conditions should remain good on Friday. The forecast for the seas off Savannah, Ga., call for one- to two-foot seas and light variable winds of less than 10 mph, said National Weather Service meteorologist Paul Yura in Charleston.</p><p>Rescue workers removed some of the fishing gear wrapped around the 35 to 40-foot-long whale Thursday. However, it is unlikely they will be able to completely free the whale because it is so severely entangled, said Connie Barclay, a spokeswoman for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.</p><p>"We've been very cautious all along in saying we're never going to get all this stuff off," she said.</p><p>Scientists say they need to remove much of the fishing gear because as the whale grows the lines will become tighter, threatening its life.</p><p>The whale was one of two first spotted entangled Dec. 6 off the North Carolina coast. This whale was found again on Dec. 21 off the Georgia coast and a tracking device was attached to it.</p><p>The other whale has not been seen again, Barclay said.</p><p>There are only an estimated 300 Atlantic right whales still alive after they were hunted almost to extinction by the early 1900s. Scientists say an estimated 60 percent of right whales become entangled in fishing lines.</p><p>___</p><p>HASH(0x286584c)</p><p>HASH(0x28658f4)</p>
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