Tangled Whale Freed Off New Jersey Coast

Friday, Nov 15, 2013  |  Updated 3:30 PM EDT
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Marine mammal experts are working to disentangle a young whale off the coast of New Jersey.

Marine mammal experts are working to disentangle a young whale off the coast of New Jersey.

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A young humpback whale that got tangled in fishing gear and anchored in place off the New Jersey coast was freed Friday morning. The whale had a rope wrapped tightly around its tail.
 
"The animal was just barely able to get its head above the water," said Bob Schoelkopf of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association said rescuers were able to free the animal shortly before noon. 
 
"The whale was successfully disentangled and upon being freed, it simply swam off," said Nick Ameen of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The whale was entangled off of Point Pleasant Beach, about 2 miles east of the Manasquan Inlet.

The agency had no further details about the rescue, including how the juvenile humpback estimated to be between 2 and 5 years old got trapped.

"Sometimes it takes until we get the gear off the animal to find out exactly what it is," NOAA spokeswoman Maggie Mooney-Seus had said earlier.

The Center for Coastal Studies in Provincetown, Mass., was leading the rescue. The group is a member of NOAA Fisheries Large Whale Disentanglement Network and is experienced and authorized in this type of whale rescue.

Authorities had set up a 300-foot cordon around the whale to keep onlookers away. A Coast Guard vessel stood by the whale after it was spotted Thursday until responders from the Center for Coastal Studies arrived on Friday.

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