NOAA re­port: 76 whales died last year from en­tan­gle­ments

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

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.

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