Whale rescued from fishing gear entanglement off Florida-Georgia coast

Multiple agencies involved in rescue effort


A North Atlantic right whale was successfully freed from fishing gear Friday afternoon, representatives from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

The whale is a known animal named Ruffian and was located 20 to 30 miles off the coast of the Florida/Georgia line, officials said.

Ruffian was spotted Thursday during an aerial survey being conducted by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists.

Before being untangled, Ruffian was found with two lines of rope coming out of his mouth, with fishing gear trailing behind him.

NOAA said biologists retrieved rope and a large trap-like net that the whale was dragging.

It was not clear if the whale was completely freed from the gear, but the rescue team said they did not see anything else on the whale, according to NOAA.

Agencies involved in the rescue were FFWCC, Georgia Department of Natural Resources and NOAA Fisheries.