A record number of whales were reported entangled in fishing gear in in 2014 off the west coast of the US (Washington State, Oregon and California), according to figures from the US authorities. The data, released by the Center for Biological Diversity, shows that at least 30 whales, mainly gray and humpback, were found entangled, twice the number from the previous year. Vertical lines, linking buoys on the surface with crab pots on the bottom, were often involved.
So far this year, 25 entanglements have been recorded off California alone. The issue is also a major problem along the east coast of the US as well where a humpback whale had to have line removed by a rescue team this week. It is likely that many other whale entanglements are never discovered.
The news comes less than a week after the US National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) proposed removing humpback whales from the Endangered Species Act.