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News and Media

News and Media


By Founder and President Kurt Lieber

Whale entangled in fishing lineSadly, and avoidably: There have been an unprecedented number of whales becoming entangled in fishing gear over the last two years.

In 2015, we witnessed 61 confirmed entanglements, and so far this year there are at least 40.  It is also important to note that scientists estimate the actual number of entanglements to far exceed those that we humans are able to confirm.

This Weekend - another whale in peril

Just this past Saturday, August 6th, a humpback whale was spotted off the Newport Beach coast with several hundred feet of trap line wrapped around its pectoral fin and running into its mouth.  Rescuers were not able to remove the line that day, and as of this writing, that whale has not been seen since.

NOAA has trained several groups of volunteers up and down the west coast of the USA. These groups are called upon to go out in small boats and dis-entangle whales. 

Disentangling a whale with ghost gear on itMan using grappling hook to cut line caught on a whaleCutting the fishing line to free a whale

ODA is not involved in that process.  BUT, we do have a boat that we are willing to use to go out and find the whales in distress, so that we could offer assistance to the NOAA team.

ODA whale saving boat Mr. Barker's LegaSea

We could really help them by listening for and verifying reports of entangled whales, reporting current/accurate locations to NOAA, and staying with the animals (at a respectful distance) until the dis-entanglement team arrives.

You CAN Help Whales!

If you are interested in helping these intelligent mammals survive, please consider being part of our Eyes On the Water Team.

We are building a list of people willing and able to go out during the week, from dawn until (possibly) dusk.  No special skills are needed, just a willingness to be ready to go out at a moment’s notice to help our friends in the sea.

Please join us on these scouting trips by following this link to our crew application, filling it out, and returning it to us:

Please become involved! ...and if you can’t be there physically, please make a donation today to fuel our boat and help keep this effort going through your generosity.

Photo credit for whale entanglement images: Ed Lyman, NOAA