All Tied Up: Taking a Closer Look at Humpback Whale Entanglement in Alaska 1990–2011
Humpback Whale Entanglement in Alaska 1990–2011 (poster)
Entanglements are a significant source of injury and mortality for humpback whales in Alaska. Most events reported to NOAA Fisheries have occurred in Southeast Alaska. The majority of reported gear involves crab, shrimp, and unidentified pot gear, as well as gillnet and other unidentified nets. These types of entanglement incidents can be life-threatening to humpback whales by limiting their ability to move, breathe, and forage. Entangled animals may also experience physical trauma from gear, develop infections from wounds, and be susceptible to ship strikes. Impacts on reproductive success, while not immediately lethal, may be harmful to the population over time.
Here we present a summary of humpback whale entanglement events (over 170 cases) as reported to NOAA Fisheries from 1990-2011.