(ABC News) — Crews raced to help a blue whale entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Dana Point, California, about 50 miles south of Los Angeles, on Monday.
The blue whale, estimated to be between 70 and 80 feet long, was spotted about five miles off the coastline.
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Frank Brennan, captain of Dana Wharf Sportfishing Whale Watching, told ABC-owned Los Angeles station KABC, “it seemed really tired it was able to get high enough out of the water to take a breath, it was just swimming really slow.”
According to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials, the whale was believed to be the same as one spotted on Sunday about 30 miles off the coast of San Diego.
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A disentanglement team went out to asses and help free the whale from the line, noting that something was clearly slowing the whale down.
The NOAA said they believed the whale was entangled in crab trap lines or shrimp gear, and stated it was unusual to have blue whales entangled in fishing equipment since they usually do not come close to the shoreline.
According to Brennan there was approximately 200 yards of line and buoys attached to the whale’s tail, weighing it down.
The rescue team told KABC it was unclear how long the whale has been entangled. The crew attempted to attach a special buoy to transmit the whale’s location and monitor data remotely so they could track it overnight, but it had to be removed.