A humpback whale is being closely monitored after being released from hundreds of metres of fishing lines off the coast of Vancouver Island.
The Department of Fisheries and Oceans said fishery officers and the Marine Mammal Response Unit worked for more than four hours on Thursday to free the animal.
The humpback whale was entangled in more than 900 metres (3,000 feet) of fishing lines along with 50 traps, anchors and floats, the DFO said.
It was so entangled in the gear that the whale was actually anchored to the ocean floor, the DFO said.
The DFO said it was able to remove most of the gear from the whale and it will continue to monitor the animal and its ongoing health.
It is asking anyone who sees a stranded, injured or entangled whale to report it to 1-800-465-4336 or on the DFO website.
The DFO said all fishing gear, including ropes and nets, can pose a threat to whales.
For those planning to go trap fishing, the DFO has a list of ways to prevent whale entanglements:
- Avoid setting gear when whales are near. See a blow? Wait for a whale to pass or find another spot to set your gear. It’s the law to keep distance from marine mammals while fishing.
- Reduce excess line. Adjust rope lengths between fishing gear and buoys.
- Check current and tide tables before fishing. Add weights to your gear to avoid it drifting away.
- Use proper buoys, avoid Styrofoam blocks or plastic jugs. This can reduce the chance of gear loss and harm to whales.
- Clearly mark your buoys with your name and phone number, or vessel registration number, as required. If found, lost gear can be returned to you.
Everyone should dispose of their fishing gear responsibly and try and clean up any debris.