NOAA report: 76 whales died last year from entanglements
PORTLAND, Maine — Federal officials said Thursday in a report that last year was slightly worse than average for the entanglement of large whales, which is a threat to the animals’ populations.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the number of cases nationally was 76, and that 70 of the entanglements involved live animals. The 10-year average is closer to 70 entanglements.
The agency said about 70 percent of the confirmed entanglement cases were attributable to fishing gear, such as traps, nets and fishing line.
NOAA said the entanglements happened along the coasts except for the Gulf of Mexico. Entanglement is a concern for jeopardized species such as the North Atlantic right whale, which number about 440.