Third humpback whale in two weeks entangled off Provincetown

A young humpback whale became entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Provincetown Thursday, making it the third in the last two weeks that was freed by teams from the Center for Coastal Studies.

Beachgoers at Herring Cove initially notified the Provincetown harbormaster of the incident. The whale was reportedly “thrashing and rolling at the surface,” the center said in a statement.

The whale had three wraps of line around the end of its tail. The center believes the line came from a large fishing gear set.

Responders from the Marine Animal Entanglement Response team attached ropes and buoys to the whale to slow it down so they could get closer. They then cut the fishing line, setting the whale free.


As the whale was being freed, it thrashed around several times, the response team said.

“This is a good reminder [that] any mariner who finds an entangled whale should call for help and wait for assistance,” Scott Landry, director of the response team, said in the statement. “Whales are extremely unpredictable wild animals. Generally speaking, everything goes well until it does not go well, which is why mariners should never touch gear on entangled whales.”

Less than two weeks ago, on May 14, a whale was freed by response teams off the coast of Provincetown. Crews also, on Wednesday, responded to one stuck off of Cape Ann.

J.D. Capelouto can be reached at jd.capelouto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.