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National Report on Large Whale Entanglements Confirmed in the United States in 2020

June 28, 2022

This report provides a summary of large whale entanglements that occurred in U.S. waters in 2020.

There were 53 confirmed cases of large whale entanglements nationally in 2020. This was below the 13-year average (73.8 +22.0). The number of confirmed entanglements was more than 25 percent lower in 2020 when compared to 2019. It is unknown exactly what factors may be responsible for the decrease. It may be reflective of fewer entanglements or due to restrictions on mariners during the COVID-19 pandemic. There was both reduced fishing effort and also fewer ocean goers to observe and report cases. NOAA Fisheries will continue to analyze data from 2020 and will continue to document future large whale entanglements in U.S. waters to better understand if the decrease in confirmed entanglements is temporary (and possibly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic) or a long-term decrease.

Last updated by Office of Protected Resources on 11/03/2023