Entangled humpback whale freed again

Humpback whale, Blackpool Sands, Devon, 1 April 2017 Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The rescue charity said the exhausted whale was "very cooperative" while it was being cut free from whelk pot ropes for the second time in two weeks

A humpback whale has been rescued for the second time after becoming entangled in fishing gear off Devon.

It was cut free off Blackpool Sands on Saturday afternoon by the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) and the RNLI Salcombe lifeboat crews.

Since it was first sighted in Start Bay in February, the whale has drawn visitors from all over the UK.

Two weeks ago, volunteers from the BDMLR had to cut the creature free from whelk pot ropes.

"Fortunately this time it was a much easier operation and with the experience we had from the last time, it was all done and dusted in about an hour," the BDMLR's Dan Jarvis told BBC News.

"The whale was quite exhausted, but they're very intelligent animals, so I'd like to think it knew we were trying to help and was very cooperative."

Image copyright RNLI
Image caption The rescue operation off Blackpool Sands involved the RNLI, British Divers Marine Life Rescue and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The rescue operation was coordinated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

Mr Jarvis said the whale would be on its migration route north, possibly to Iceland or Norway, but it was likely to remain in the area while there is plentiful plankton and small fish.

"It hasn't left the area for over a month, so there's obviously fantastic feeding," he said.

"If there are a lot of people out on boats over the Easter holidays trying to see the animal, I'd remind them that whales are protected from harassment, so they should keep their distance - ideally a minimum of 50m to 100m (165ft - 328ft)."

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