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Video shows Island rescuers freeing humpback whale from fishing gear

The whale was entangled in the ropes of a large yellow buoy used for prawn fishing.

A daring rescue of a humpback whale entangled in fishing gear near Texada Island serves as a reminder of the dangers of ocean debris, says the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

On Friday, the federal Marine Mammal Rescue team learned of a humpback whale entangled in the ropes of a large yellow buoy used for prawn fishing.

In video footage taken by DFO, rescuers manage to release the gear, which appeared to be attached to the whale’s mouth.

“Debris is a real problem for marine wildlife,” said an email from Lara Sloane, DFO communications advisor.

Sloane said the public can help prevent entanglements by cutting packing material, banding, rope and other looped material before disposing of it, and by not dumping those materials in the marine environment.

The DFO said the rescue was a community effort that included the RCMP, commercial tug operators, B.C. Ferries captains, Nanaimo fishery officers, whale-watch companies and others who worked with DFO on the water and provided updates on the entangled whale’s location.

Anyone who sees a marine mammal in distress is asked to call the marine mammal incident reporting hotline at 1-800-465-4336.

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