Friday, June 21, 2024

Whale calf freed off Pacific coast after becoming trapped by fishing nets

Students and faculty from the University of Colima freed a humpback whale calf that was trapped in a fishing net off the state’s coast with the support of the navy and the federal environmental protection agency, Profepa.

Members of the university’s School of Marine Sciences noticed the trapped whale calf on February 26 and immediately contacted Profepa and the navy to ask for boats and equipment to free it.

The researchers are part of an interinstitutional group called the Network of Assistance to Enmeshed Whales, which is dedicated to rescuing the marine mammals from fishing nets.

The calf and its mother were spotted between the coastal towns of Manzanillo and Barra de Navidad, traveling north on their migration route as water temperatures rise in the higher latitudes.

University of Colima whale researcher Cristian Ortega said that he hopes to hear good news of the pair from researchers and activists up the coast. A similar group in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, keeps watch for migrating whales and also helps free them from fishing nets.

He and other students and researchers are expecting to see dozens of whales this month as they migrate to warmer waters. He asked fishermen and others who spot whales to check to see if they have nets attached to their bodies in any way and to contact his department if so.

Profepa said in a press release that it “continues to support surveillance and rescue actions for the protection of marine mammals, with the purpose of … conserving their populations during the season that they arrive to [Mexico’s Pacific coast].”

Sources: El Noticiero de Colima (sp)

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