A Santa Barbara whale watching business, Condor Express, recently reported that they observed, “…a cow-calf pair not too far from SB Harbor. Upon arriving in the area near the two whales, it became apparent that one of them (we still do not know which one) was entangled in a long line of polyproplylene rope attached to a few styrofoam buoys. This was the kind of of line used on commercial lobster and crab traps. So the pair of whales traveled at a slow pace, dragging the rope and its float behind them. The danger of this kind of entanglement includes abrasion or possible infection of the tail stock region, or the possibility that the rope would become fouled in a kelp bed or boat propeller which would spell the worst for the whale. Also the energy drain on the whale as well as the limitations it imposed on maneuverability are considerations.”
The Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute, Santa Barbara Mammal Center, and Sea World of the Pacific were advised of the entangled whale. Unfortunately, limited visibility hindered any rescue or disentanglement attempt.