Viral Video Shows Whale Calf Missing Tail After Getting Trapped in Abandoned Fishing Net

According to Metro, members of the Macuaticos Foundation, a marine conservation organization, filmed a young humpback whale off Colombia’s Pacific coast who appeared to be missing a tail.

The whale calf seemed to swim normally through the water, but when the animal dived, one could see a terrifying jagged wound where the calf’s tail should have been. Researchers believe the most likely reason is that the whale had become entangled and wrapped so tightly in a fishing net that circulation was cut off and the tail was eventually lost.

Sadly, they fear the whale will not survive for long without a tail. Biologist Cristian Bermudez said, “The whale will probably not survive because the tail is essential for travelling around the sea and it is fundamental for deep dives.

Watch the shocking moment this young whale was caught on camera breaching without a tail.

A survey by scientists with Ocean Cleanup, an organization working to develop technologies to reduce ocean plastic, found that at least 46 percent of the plastic in the “Great Pacific garbage patch, a floating gyre the size of France made up of plastic, comes from fishing nets. It’s worth noting that miscellaneous discarded fishing gear makes up the majority of the rest. Around the world, abandoned or lost fishing gear trashes our oceans and kills countless sea animals. World Animal Protection reports that 640,000 tons of gear are lost and pollute oceans each year.

In 2016 there were 71 reported cases of whales caught in fishing lines off California, Oregon, and Washington. Of the 29 caught in identifiable fishing gear, 22 were caught in commercial Dungeness crab gear. And such entanglements are increasing yearly. There were 61 off the West Coast in 2015, a record high at the time.

Kristen Monsell, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, told NPR what it’s like when a whale becomes entangled in a giant fishing net:
Sometimes it can drown the whale immediately, or it can happen over weeks, because they get so tired. They eventually die of exhaustion. If the gear is in their mouths, it impedes their ability to feed. It can amputate their tails or other parts of the body. And for younger whales, the gear may wrap around them, but the whale keeps growing and it cuts into their flesh.
Human consumption of seafood is responsible for the deaths of countless whales, sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, and porpoises. In fact, the National Journal estimates that about 20 percent of all fish caught in commercial trawling nets are “bycatch, or unwanted animals.

Recent video footage released by Mercy For Animals, SeaLegacy, Sharkwater, and Turtle Island Restoration Network reveals how marine animals—including dolphins, sea lions, and seabirds—are routinely trapped and killed in the commercial fishing industry’s driftnets. Animals were documented being cut apart, pierced with hooks, caught in nets, and left to suffocate aboard driftnet fishing boats off the coast of California.

See for yourself.

You can help protect marine life by urging the California legislature to ban driftnets. Click here to take action.

The best thing we can do to remove our support from the cruel fishing industry is to leave fish off our plates and switch to a compassionate vegan diet.

Ready to get started? Check out all the amazing vegan versions of seafood, such as Gardein’s fishless filets and crabless cakes. And click here for some great sea-inspired recipes.

Photo Credit: CEN/Fundacion Macuaticos