Wildlife officials from the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission joined forces and were finally able to came to the aid of a 30-foot right whale caught in a commercial fishing net 40 miles off the coast of Darien, GA Monday. The animal had originally been spotted by a crew conducting aerial surveys for the Navy off Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, which radioed authorities to help.
"Coordination between research teams is essential during these types of events," emphasized FWC biologist Katie Jackson, who noted that because the whale was spotted late in the day they had little time to access its condition.
Although they managed to cut away nearly 280 feet of ¾ inch commercial fishing by using a device known as a cutting grapple, some of it was still tangled in the behemoth’s mouth as it swam out to sea, and it is hoped that the whale will finally be able to shake it off himself.
The male, said to be about 4-years old is one of only 450 North Atlantic right whales surviving in the wild. They migrate to the warmer waters off Georgia and Florida each winter to give birth.