Rescuers hoping for a chance to free entangled whale shark of Maui

Rescuers hoping for a chance to free entangled whale shark of Maui

Outdoors

Rescuers hoping for a chance to free entangled whale shark of Maui

Dive-boat crews in Maui are keeping their eyes out for an entangled whale shark in the hope that a disentanglement team can be dispatched to help the gentle giant.

The juvenile whale shark, measuring 15 to 18 feet, was first spotted Sunday off Olowalu, about 4 miles south of Lahaina.

Entangled whale shark off Maui. Photo: Hawaii Uncharted Research Collective

NOAA Fisheries stated in a news release that the whale shark’s body was wrapped with “heavy-gauge” fishing line in front of its dorsal fin and around both pectoral fins (see top photo).

The whale shark also was burdened by a large bundle of gear attached to its underside.

The docile creature disappeared before help could arrive, but was spotted again Friday off Molokini, a partially submerged crater that is popular among divers.

Generic whale shark image via Wikipedia

The Hawaii Uncharted Research Collective reported the sighting on Facebook:

“Multiple boats and divers reported seeing the animal on the backside of Molokini around 8:30 a.m. We want to thank everyone who reported this animal and we encourage you to continue to do so.

“We are in communication with NOAA and the entanglement network here in the islands. By assessing videos from the two sightings, the animal seems to be easily spooked. Please be mindful of this. Report any future sightings to the NOAA hotline at 888-256-9840 and our hotline at 808-465-4872.”

As of the time of this post, a disentanglement effort had not been launched. As is the case with larger whales that become entangled, rescue efforts are difficult because the animals are elusive and easily spooked.

Whale sharks, which are found in tropical and subtropical waters, are the planet’s largest fish, measuring to about 40 feet. They feed mostly on plankton, and because of their size and docile nature they’re an incredibly popular attraction for divers.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists whale sharks as endangered.

The Latest

reply
2d

A hunter facing a life-or-death situation was saved by a chance encounter with a cross country team Wednesday after being lost in the wilderness of New Mexico for 36 hours without food or shelter, and enduring freezing temperatures. “The odds were very much against (…)

reply
3d

Many athletes and professionals do not realize that the true way to gain strength is through a balance of training and relaxation. There are plenty of people that forget the latter step in this balancing act; however, the place that has it right and practices it on a daily (…)

reply
3d

You have seen them on the athletes and you have been waiting for this day for years. Today, action sports entertainment leader Nitro Circus announced that they are teaming up with world-renowned helmet brand Bell to add more flavor to two of Bell’s most popular bike and skate (…)

reply
3d

As they approached the tee box on a par 3 hole on a course in Florida, Sage Stryczny and his father noticed a major hazard on the green, one with a big bite. A huge alligator known as Chubbs was resting on the green Saturday as it made its way from one pond to (…)

reply
3d

Jimmy Badong, a kayak fisherman from Guam, became bored with catching the “regular fish” he typically catches, so on Tuesday he dropped his lure 1,800 feet to see if anything would bite. The result was astonishing as Badong, who was fishing three miles off southern Guam, (…)

More BNQT
Home