Gray whale rescue under way off Laguna Beach

For the third time in one month, a marine mammal rescue crew was dispatched from Laguna Beach yesterday to disentangle a gray whale. The whale is a 40-foot long adult towing 50 to 100 feet of fishing line, though it otherwise appears to be in good health.

It was spotted off the coast of Laguna Beach on Tuesday afternoon. Rescuers from Pacific Marine Mammal Center, the only licensed whale rescue service in Orange County, had partially freed the whale by dark, but attached buoys to it so that they could finish disentangling it the following day.

The rescue team included Dean Gomersall, Dana Friedman, and Scott Sedlick of Orange County.

Whale disentanglement is a dangerous task, but crews are trained and licensed for such rescue operations by NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. Special equipment and procedures minimize the risks for both the entangled whale and the human rescuers. It is estimated that nearly 1,000 whales and dolphins die due to entanglement every day.

We will post updates as the story develops, so stay tuned for more information.


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