Whale entangled in fishing line spotted off Palos Verdes coast

PALOS VERDES, Calif. (KABC) -- A humpback whale tangled in fishing line was spotted off the coast of Palos Verdes Saturday.

The mammal was spotted around 9 a.m., struggling to free itself from the line.

"I don't know what type of traps or ropes they come from, but it was very entangled. It couldn't move too much on the surface a lot," Capt. Erik Combs said.

Combs, of Harbor Breeze Cruises, was taking about 150 people out for a sightseeing tour when he spotted the tangled sea creature near Point Fermin around midday. He started taking photos.

Marine animal rescue crews had already arrived to try and help the whale.

"It was disturbing, but we had a naturalist from the aquarium that explained to the people that sometimes this stuff happens. We have human products in the ocean and we have to coexist with the whales and sometimes we clash," Combs said.

Rescuers worked for hours, trying a few times to cut the line. The crews couldn't fully free the whale, however, they were able to attach a tracking device to it so they could locate it again.

Combs said the humpback appeared lethargic when he saw it, but he has faith in the rescuers.

"So hopefully if they freed it a little bit, it'll do a little bit better until the next day and they come back and finish the job," he said.

Crews will try to locate the whale and attempt freeing it Sunday morning.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.