[UPDATED with New Spotting:] Gray Whale Entangled in Fishing Net
The nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach reports that the whale was spotted today off Gorda on the central California coast, where it is being monitored by the National Marine Fisheries Service.
The mammal was originally seen off Laguna around 1:15 p.m. April 16 with 50 to 100 feet of net stuck on its left pectoral fin and more line coming out of its mouth. The Coast Guard and the Mammal Center coordinated efforts to remove much of the line through the following evening. The whale could not be located the following day.
Orange Countians had nicknamed the whale "Ellen," but in central California it's now going by June.
ORIGINAL POST, APRIL 18, 10:02 A.M.: An older, 40-foot gray whale who'd been entangled in a fishing net was freed from much of it Tuesday, and efforts are being made today to get the distressed mammal locals named "Ellen" to migrate in the correct direction.
A call about a whale stuck in net came to the nonprofit Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Beach around 1:15 p.m. Monday. The mammal was found off Laguna with 50 to 100 feet of net stuck on its left pectoral fin and more line coming out of its mouth.
Much of the line was removed by the crew as the whale was trailed to 10 miles off San Onofre. Three buoys were attached to the mammal to help track it as work was suspended around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Captain Dave Anderson of Capt. Dave's Dolphin Safari in Dana Point says it's unclear if the whale being disoriented from being entangled in the net is causing it to head south as opposed to north, the normal migration direction this time of year.
This is the third rescue the mammal center has undertaken this month. Anderson recently discussed the troubles whales and dolphins have with fishing nets and lines on Ellen. The skipper says Ellen DeGeneres has done more to raise awareness to the issue of entangled mammals than anyone, thus the nickname for the gray whale: