Humpback Whale Caught in Fishing Net in Chesapeake Bay

Coast Guard crews trying to free the animal from a tangled net

Thursday, May 6, 2010  |  Updated 8:30 AM EDT
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Humpback Whale Caught in Chesapeake Bay Net

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Humpback Whale

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Coast Guard crews will return to the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday to look for a humpback whale that got caught up in fishing net.

The whale, which measured 60 to 65 feet, became snagged in the net on Wednesday in the lower part of the Bay.  Rescue crews, including a stranding team from the Virginia Aquarium, attempted to free the whale, but it disappeared into deeper waters.

The whale was later seen with its tail tangled in a gill net off of Cape Charles, which is at the southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

John M.R. Bull, of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, said a commission plane and vessel tried to free the whale, which was swimming in large circles offshore.  A stranding team from Virginia Beach also attempted to approach the whale to remove the net from its body.

"It's a dangerous and difficult procedure.  They're dealing with a big animal and they're out on a small boat," said Joan M. Barns, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Beach aquarium.

Barns said humpbacks typically do not venture into the bay but are common in offshore waters.

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