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Successful response to entangled Arabian Sea humpback

Teamwork has resulted in the successful disentanglement of a humpback whale from a highly endangered population found only in the Arabian Sea.

On 20 January, rescuers from the Oman Environmental Authority, Five Oceans Environmental Services LLC, and Future Seas Global SPC were able to free a humpback whale from an entanglement in gill net.  The team had previously received IWC entanglement response training and was assisted with real time advice from members of the IWC entanglement expert panel.  The team was also assisted with support and personnel from Oman’s Coast Guard, Royal Oman Police (ROP), Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO) and the Port of Duqm, where the whale was found on 19 January. 

The whale is a member of a highly endangered population of humpback whales who reside year-round in the Arabian Sea.  This non-migratory behaviour makes them unique amongst humpback whales.  Current estimates suggest that the population consists of fewer than 100 individuals, making them one of the most endangered populations of large whales in the world.

Bycatch in fishing gear is currently the greatest direct threat to the recovery and survival of many populations of dolphins, whales and porpoises.  It is the focus of numerous IWC recommendations and initiatives on bycatch and entanglement.    The IWC is also assisting countries whose waters host some of these extremely endangered populations, developing Conservation Management Plans that help coordinate actions with the relevant range states and other stakeholders.

The IWC congratulates the team in Oman and the numerous Government agencies who supported the effort, and was pleased to be of some assistance to this successful effort.



Click here to watch a video clip of the response.  This shows the team attaching buoys to the prevent the whale from diving during the disentanglement attempt.