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Gloucester harbormaster helps free entangled humpback

A humpback whale breached off California.

Eric Risberg/Associated Press

A humpback whale breached off California.

A humpback whale snarled in ropes miles off Cape Ann was freed Tuesday morning with some help from the Gloucester harbormaster.

The whale, which was around 25 to 35 feet long, was trapped in the Atlantic Ocean around 2 miles off Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester Deputy Harbormaster Chad Johnston said.

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The humpback was first spotted entangled in gear by a local whale watching boat around 10 a.m. Tuesday, at which point Gloucester Harbormaster Thomas Ciarametaro and a crewman sailed to the scene, Johnston said.

Upon arriving at the site of the trapped humpback, Ciarametaro was able to grab some of the rope entangling the whale and assisted it in freeing itself within minutes.

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“There was a whale entangled in rope, and they were able to grab a piece of the rope, and he kind of spun around and untangled himself” before swimming off, Johnston said.

While humpbacks do frequent northern Atlantic waters, Johnston said sightings of entangled animals off Gloucester’s coast are “not very often” reported to the harbormaster.

He also credited Ciarametaro’s quick response, and said if the animal wasn’t spotted and freed Tuesday it may have died.

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“It did sound very quick and very successful,” Johnston said of the rescue. “If the whale didn’t get unentangled it would’ve drowned and not made it.”

Ben Thompson can be reached at ben.thompson@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Globe_Thompson
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