Authorities free entangled humpback whale off Maui’s coast

HONOLULU — Authorities freed an adult humpback whale off the coast of Maui after it was found entangled in heavy gauge line.

The crew aboard a whale-watching tour boat reported the distressed whale to authorities on Christmas Day, and a team of experts responded, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

Personnel from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Humpback Whale Sanctuary found the whale off Maui’s northwest coast, near Lahaina. The whale was trailing about 400 feet (122 meters) of line from its mouth, authorities said.

The team attached a buoy to keep track of the animal. Members tried to slow it down and keep it near the surface so they could remove the line, authorities said. They untangled the whale and recovered the line a few hours later.

Scientists will measure and examine the line to determine where it came from with the hope of reducing the threat to whales in the future, authorities said.

On the same day, a carcass of a humpback whale was discovered about 3 miles (5 kilometers) off the northern coast of Oahu.

Crews working with state authorities and the Coast Guard towed the carcass about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away from shore, said David Schofield, a program coordinator with NOAA.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

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