Whale Entangled in Rope in Bermuda Waters

March 23, 2010

Only days after a 20 foot dead baby whale was found in Bermuda waters, a rope entangled whale was spotted by Mr. Andrew Stevenson of the Whale Research Project.

Severely caught in polypropylene rope including having rope in the whale’s mouth, its pectoral fins were pinned to the side of the animal and they were pink from abrasions. Since whales use their flukes to maneuver, the animals movements were inhibited, with Mr. Stevenson saying the whale would be in pain from the entanglement.

Mr. Stevenson, an expert in the field, said he felt the whale got tangled in the rope in Bermuda waters. He said that between the Caribbean and its northern feeding grounds, the only seamount likely to have ropes attaching buoys to the bottom is here on the Bermuda platform.

Photo by Andrew Stevenson

Photo by Andrew Stevenson


Humpback whales are generally 12-16 feet long at birth. They can reach lengths of about 40-45 feet, and weigh about a ton per foot. Their tail flukes span 12-15 feet and their pectoral fins can be up to 15 feet long. Bermuda is an important feeding ground for whales in their migratory pattern, starting late February until mid-May, humpback whales can be seen in Bermuda waters.

Not the first time he has seen an entangled whale, Mr. Stevenson says that over the past three years he has seen whales feed in the same areas as the local fishermen tend to fish. If the fishermen have lines attaching buoys to the ocean floor, then it is possible that foraging whales will become entangled.

Finding it personally worrisome, Mr. Stevenson says that this is the third badly entangled whale he has encountered in Bermuda in the past three years, and feeling its an ominous sign when the first whale of the season his team photographs – is entangled.

Andrew Stevenson is the lead researcher behind the documentary “Where the Whales Sing”. The film debuted to a sold out audience at the Bermuda International Film Festival on March 11.

For more photos and details of this story see here on WhalesBermuda.com

Across the sea in Florida waters, another humpback whale was also spotted entangled in rope. Dozens of dolphins circled the whale for over an hour, protecting it and its young calve from nearby lurking Mako and Hammerhead sharks. Read full story here.

Read More About

Category: All, Environment