Migration Perils: Entanglement
From Strawberry Isle Research Society

The Gray's demanding 5,000-nautical-mile journey from the warm and calm breeding lagoons of Mexico is one of the longest migrations made by any mammal on Earth. These leviathans face many perils on the migration route: collision with large vessels, oil spills, and Killer Whales are a few. One of the most dangerous of all is the threat of entanglement in commercial fishing gear. Nets are considered to be the greatest threat but, surprisingly, crab gear, though not a common occurrence, is a danger here in the Pacific Northwest. Almost every year grays are reported fouled with as many as 3 crab trap float lines in their jaws and hitched around their bodies. Think about that for a minute. The animal is not only restricted by the entanglement of line but with three traps is also burdened with over 100 kilograms of steel.


Try This! Journal Or Discussion Questions  
  • Identify in the above paragraph:

    4 dangers to migrating gray whales
    1 danger unique to the Pacific Northwest
    2 ways gray whales are harmed by crab trap float lines
    1 thing Strawberry Isle Research Society is doing to help gray whales

  • Discuss: Why are cool heads and good physical condition necessary for volunteers who are helping entangled whales?
  • Name: What title would you give to this article?

NOTE: In 1999 Strawberry Isle Research Society started something good. They hosted a disentanglement workshop for their membership, representatives from the government departments of Fisheries, Transport and Parks. The outcome was recognition of the threat and need for a coastal web of response teams that could be asked to deal with entanglement reports. Strawberry Isle Research Society was the first.