A gray whale that became entangled in discarded netting and a fishing buoy off the Orange County coast between Laguna Beach and Dana Point was freed today after being spotted off the coast of Redondo Beach, authorities said.
The whale was first seen from a helicopter Wednesday by a private citizen who notified authorities, said Kelli Lewis of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.
Teams of rescuers managed to attach two buoys to the whale by nightfall Wednesday but had to cease their efforts until daybreak, Lewis said. The mammal is a “sub adult” — older than a baby but not yet full-grown.
This morning, the marine mammal center received tips that the whale was seen off the coast of Redondo Beach, Lewis said. By early afternoon, most of the netting had been removed, the whale was swimming mainly unencumbered, and the rescuers were returning to shore, Lewis said.
“We feel pretty confident that the rest of the netting will fall off,” Lewis said.
Over the weekend, another gray whale was found entangled in netting outside Dana Point Harbor, and rescuers managed to cut away the netting and free it.
The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is based in Laguna Beach, and can be reached at 949-494-3050.