‘Whale Found Distressed With Entanglement’

April 4, 2018 | 19 Comments

On Monday [April 2], a local vessel reported a “migrating whale found distressed with entanglement in rope or wire” and it was concluded that Bermuda at this time, “lacked the necessary specialist equipment to assist the whale.”

A Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre spokesperson said, “A local vessel on Challenger Bank, reported a migrating whale found distressed with entanglement in rope or wire around the creature’s fluke.

“Having advised Bermuda Maritime Operations Centre who relayed the plight of the whale to BAMZ staff Dr Ian Walker, it was concluded that Bermuda at this time, lacked the necessary specialist equipment to assist the whale and was unable to offer further assistance to the animal, it has been discussed with the Aquarium that following this incident attempts will be made to obtain the equipment required should this situation arise again.

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Category: All, Environment, News

Comments (19)

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  1. skeptic says:

    What a sorry state of affairs – we promote whale watching, film documentaries about whales, stage the Ocean Vet series and yet no one has thought that it would be a good idea to have the capability to help the whales when they get into trouble?

    • The Original Truth™ says:

      Our environment and the animals within it are the last to get support.

      Very valid predictions say that millennials will be the last to see these magnificent creatures. We are in a dying world and all most can think about is how they can make enough for a gas guzzler that will propel us closer to our doom. We need these animals to survive for our future or there’s no use spending on material possesions. We have 20 years left starting 2018 to make a change. The choice is start now and less suffer or keep procrastinating and we all suffer. This end doesn’t come from some “holy” book without any factual basis it comes from hard scientific facts. There’s no rapture and no magical man coming from the sky to save us. We are our own gods and at this time we are the gods of destruction not life.

  2. Micro says:

    Specialist equipment like what? Certainly, we can at least try and help the poor thing.

  3. What's up? says:

    This is awful, I sure hope someone else can help this creature.

  4. Marian says:

    So now what we throw up our hands and do nothing?

  5. sage says:

    Pretty pathetic response.

  6. campervan says:

    On the rock.
    Ban helium balloons
    ban plastic bags
    ban styrofoam takeout containers.
    Ban throw away plastic water bottles.
    We live on the front line of this issue, lets lead by example.

  7. A Bermudian says:

    More than likely the whale became entangled with derelict fishing gear. While many of us have heard stories or seen videos of people rescuing and freeing entangled whales, it is dangerous to do it.

    In the USA, there is a protocol for untangling distressed whales on the NOAA Marine Fisheries Service website https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/insight/entanglement-marine-life-risks-and-response/ and BAMZ response is in line with this recommended protocol which involves specialized training and equipment.

    There will be a next time, so let’s encourage BAMZ to get prepared, and tell all your boating and fishing friends to never discard fishing gear and trash overboard. Help do a beach or underwater cleanup.

    • sage says:

      Whaling was far more dangerous and people figured out how to do it using some pretty rudimentary gear, there are plenty videos of people acting to save sea creatures successfully despite the risks, using just a knife, which most boats have on board. There is usually no time to call NOAA or BAMZ or for them to respond, so maybe ‘specialized equipment’ should be made public so boat owners can equip themselves with safer (rounded tip blade), more effective cutting implements in case they encounter something like this. I really hope there is a ‘next time’ for this whale, with all our history and present interactions with whales and being on their migratory route, to not be able to help is embarrassing and sad.

  8. PANGAEA says:

    Bermuda fishing and pleasure boats propellers and steering gear can get caught up in floating debris leaving the boat owner stranded at sea .

    Calling for a tow to shore is your best option.

    As a last resort which is an exausting and dangerouse exercise.

    The only other way to deal with this is to go over the side with clothes on for body protection on with flippers and mask to free up at least one get home prop.

    You will also need a motorcycle helmet, remove flotation and drill several holes to vacate air.

    While under the moving boat due to wave action. helmet protects your head and gloves for hands.

    Trying to cut the running gear free with a variety of knives can be impracticle and dangerouse if wire is involved.

    A hack saw will do a better job by reversing the saw blade this will give the added advantage of hold debris and pull cut, and this method is less likely to break the blade. Attach a safety line on the hack saw to prevent loss of the tool to the deep.

    Establish a line of comunication with those on deck by tapping on the hull ,three taps means help.
    A second resque diver suitably equipt should be on stand by.

  9. Flash says:

    Specialized equipment? You mean cable cutters and a strong saw to cut rope? Well BAMZ – we are in luck! I happen to own this “specialized” gear. In fact, I think 80% of Bermuda’s population and hardware stores may just have this “specialized gear”. I am happy to donate it to BAMZ if it means saving future whales. What a cop-out excuse….. boooo

  10. Cathy says:

    What a terrible shame this poor whale was left to suffer from our recklessness. The amount of crap that is dumped/blown in the ocean is very alarming and sad for ocean life. You are what you eat.

    • Barbara Nahoumi says:

      Call the Coast Guard. They might have the necessary implements to cut the fishing gear.

  11. Kathy says:

    If we can’t do this ourselves, surely we can call in an AXPERT from the USA to do it. Sounds like there would be enough public support to pay for this!!!

    We can’t just let the whale suffer and die and say we’ll, maybe next time! Unacceptable response from BAMZ!!

  12. Kathy says:

    We can’t just sit back and do nothing! Can’t we call in an AXPERT from the USA. Surely we would have enough public support and donations to pay for this. Unacceptable response from BAMZ!!!

  13. f**ing try says:

    “lacked the necessary specialist equipment” u need to borrow my fins mask and knife? Or should i borrow your boat and show u how its done? #growapair

  14. Pequot1612 says:

    What a joke the only equipment likely needed was a desire to assist the animal certified diving team a knife and maybe wire cutters. This isn’t specialized work it just takes a bit of common sense. I appreciate that anyone who looks to assist a wild animal especially in the marine environment puts his life at risk but that’s what people do around the world daily.
    We put our trash and debris into their environment so it should go without asking that we do our best to assist any animal in trouble. In many cases we see regular people who just happen tonfind animals under duress to jump in and free them of being entangled.
    i really cant believe BAMZ dropped the ball on this one.

  15. Make a New Plan Stan says:

    Whales are huge and powerful and it would awful to put on of them or anyone trying to help in a situation like this in any danger HOWEVER I can’t help but wonder if other agencies like BIOS, Dolphin Quest and BUEI were alerted to this problem. There are lots of qualified divers and commercial fishermen as well who may have been able to think quick and innovate despite a lack of “proper equipment”

    Bermuda has a huge community spirit, contrary to what some may think, and I’m sure there are many people reading this who, had they known, would have done everything in their power to help this whale. This could have a completely different story.

    BAMZ should not be considered the be all and end all.

  16. Ian Walker says:

    As the Principal Curator / veterinarian of BAMZ and the person named in the article above, I would like to state for the record that by the time I was notified of this tragic whale’s plight by Marine Operations and could speak to the individual they were no longer with the whale and were heading back to shore. The gap between initial notification and a cell phone conversation with the individual was 30 minutes and was in part due to them being out of cell phone range. By then they had correctly assessed they could not do anything without endangering their own life and that Bermuda does not currently have the specialised equipment necessary to deal with the situation at hand. An adult humpback whale can weigh up to 66,000lbs and can easily seriously injure or kill a person, especially if they are in distress. The whale was located some nine miles off the island in a water depth of over 14,000 feet. Putting people in harms way without training and equipment is a recipe for disaster and is not something anyone should undertake lightly. In addition, even if we had the correct equipment, putting a team together, obtaining a fast vessel and getting offshore would have taken multiple hours; hours that the whale would have moved beyond it last known position. Searching for animals in the open ocean is not an easy task – to find one specific individual is near impossible. As a veterinarian, not being able to help this poor creature is frustrating and distressing, but sadly there are times when this will be the case.
    The BAMZ staff work very hard to help wild animals in distress and rehabilitate them. Staff often work out of normal working hours, on weekends and on Public Holidays without compensation to do so. We work closely with other similar organisations and try our very best to attend to all public requests.

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