Massachusetts

WATCH: Rescuers disentangle humpback whale from fishing gear off Massachusetts Bay

For the third time in as many weeks, the Marine Animal Entanglement Response Team (MAER) raced to rescue a whale entangled in fishing gear.

Rescuers said they were alerted by a tuna fishing boat that a humpback whale, identified by the CCS Humpback Whale Studies Program as Mudskipper, was towing a buoy behind her on the north end of Stellwagen Bank accompanied by her calf.

Arriving crews spotted Mudskipper with approximately 150 feet of rope from fishing gear through her mouth, according to authorities. Her 7-month-old calf was also with her, attempting to nurse.

Fearing the calf could become injured or entangled MAER crews deployed a small inflatable boat to add large floats to the fishing gear. Video shows the floats and drag from the inflatable boat being towed by the mother humpback pulling the fishing rope free.

Officials say both mother and calf sped off once released and are expected to recover.

“Many thanks goes to the crew of the tuna fishing vessel for promptly reporting the sighting and to the Cape Ann Whale Watch Company for relaying the report,” a MAER spokesperson said. “Boaters are urged to report any entanglement sightings of whales, sea-turtles or other marine animals to the MAER team (1-800-900-3622) or the US Coast Guard on VHF 16, and to stand by the animal at a safe distance until trained responders arrive.”

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