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Second Entanglement
Second Right Whale Found Snared in Canadian Fishing Net

The Associated Press
July 14/00

    H A L I F A X, Nova Scotia, July 14 — A second endangered North Atlantic right whale tangled in fishing gear was spotted Thursday in the Bay of Fundy, and research boats were trying to help free the two mammals.
   Deborah Tobin, whale emergency network coordinator with East Coast ecosystems Research Organizations, said the second whale became tangled in a fishing boat’s gill nets.
   The research ships had been trying to find another right whale spotted Tuesday with ropes and buoys around it. Poor weather had hampered the search, but both whales were being tracked on Thursday, Tobin said.
   Second Entanglement This Week “We’re going after both of them trying to sort them out,” she said. “To have these two whales in a day, I’m pretty shocked. We were up to our ears trying to deal with [the first] one.”
   The entanglements increased concern about the North Atlantic right whale population, which has dropped to about 300.
   Tobin said the fishermen whose nets got tangled with the right whale on Thursday stayed with it and radioed the emergency network for help. A spotter plane found the other whale, which was last seen on Tuesday.
   According to Tobin, the longer a whale remains tangled in lines and nets, the greater the chance of infection from cuts and other problems.
    “If you can get to the whale just after it’s been entangled, you have a much better chance of getting the gear off,” she said.

Whale-Friendly Nets?
    Researchers know of 31 entanglements since 1970, at least three of which were fatal and 11 others are believed to have contributed to the death of the whales.
   Earlier this week, six fishermen from the Digby area in Nova Scotia prepared to start the first Canadian tests of new, whale-friendly nets. The fishermen said the nets developed with U.S. engineers and marine researchers include weak links designed to allow whales to break away if they drift into them.
   If successful, the nets would help the whales avoid injury and save the fishermen money by remaining undamaged. The World Wildlife Fund put up 18,000 Canadian dollars to develop the new netting.

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