AK is only US region that increased whale entanglements

Of the 53 fishing gear entanglements in 2020, eleven occurred in Alaska.

by | June 30, 2022

Filed Under Environment

Most were humpback whales; all but one were taken in Southeast AK

Credit: NOAA Fisheries and Alaska Beacon

Alaska was the only U.S. coastal region to have an increase in the confirmed cases of large whales entangled in fishing gear in 2020, a contrast to a national trend of declining cases over the past six to eight years, according to a report issued Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The new Alaska Beacon was the first with the story. It stated that of the 53 cases of large whales entangled in fishing gear nationally in 2020, 11 occurred in Alaska, according to the report, from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. The previous year, there were 75 confirmed cases of whale entanglements nationwide, with nine of them occurring in Alaska, according to a separate report for 2019 also released Tuesday by the fisheries service.

Sperm whale in fishing gear Credit: Alaska Native News

The vast majority of confirmed Alaska whale entanglements – and the vast majority of entanglements nationally – involved humpback whales. In 2020, 10 of the Alaska cases involved live whales, and eight of those involved humpback whales. All but one of the confirmed Alaska entanglements of live large whales in 2020 occurred in waters of Southeast Alaska, according to the report.

Read the rest of the story below:

Tagged as: whales

About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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