Whale disentanglement expert to speak at Hanapepe Library

Edward Lyman, Large Whale Disentanglement Coordinator for the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary, will be speaking at the Hanapepe Public Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday as part of the Hawaiian Marine Environment monthly lecture series.

As many as 60 different humpback whales have been reported entangled off Hawai‘i since 2002, and Lyman will speak about “Community based Large Whale Entanglement Response Efforts in Hawai‘i: Why and How is it Done?”

Disentangling large whales for more than 18 years, Lyman coordinates and assists in community-based efforts in Hawai‘i and other places like Alaska.

This effort not only frees some animals from life-threatening entanglements, but more importantly, gathers information by trained, properly equipped and authorized personnel which will mitigate the threat of entanglement in the future.

Although 60 whales have been reported entangled since 2002, the number is much greater since many entanglements go unreported. Some studies indicate that around 50 percent of the humpback whales in areas of the North Pacific may have been recently entangled.

During the presentation, Lyman will describe the difficult and sometimes dangerous task of disentangling a 40-ton, likely free-swimming whale from entangling gear.

He will utilize video footage of some of the animals which have been freed in Hawai‘i and Alaska, some of the footage being derived from pole and helmet-mounted cameras.

Over the past several years, 16 different humpback whales have been freed by the network’s efforts and more than 6,700 feet of gear has been removed, significantly increasing the animal’s chances of survival and helping reduce the impact of entanglement to these animals in the future.

There is no charge to attend the presentation and the public is invited through the sponsorship of the Friends of the Hanapepe Public Library.

Call 335-8418 for more information.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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