Fishing lines threaten whales, but help is possible

SEA ISLE CITY, NJ -- Humpback whales off New Jersey’s coast, like the young male that washed up dead Friday on a Sea Isle City beach, were taken off the federal endangered species list this month because of rebounding numbers.

Humpback Whale Fishing Line 300pw

But many threats to the whales remain, including boat strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, habitat destruction and harassment by whale watchers, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

NOAA implements the evolving Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan, to reduce the number of large whales harmed by fishing gear.

Staff members of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine conducted a necropsy of the juvenile humpback. They saw evidence that entanglement in commercial fishing gear weakened the animal and prevented it from feeding, said Executive Director Bob Schoelkopf.