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.