By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — A humpback whale entangled off the coast of Boston is swimming free thanks to a team of rescuers. The Marine Animal Entanglement Response team from the Center for Coastal Studies came to the aid of the adult female Wednesday after she became “anchored in place” by fishing gear.

The Dolphin Fleet whale watch reported the stuck whale named Valley in the southern end of the Stellwagen Bank, northeast of Provincetown. The MAER team found Valley “towing heavy line that was lodged in her mouth.”

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The CCS emergency responders used specially-designed knives on long poles to cut the line from the heavily-entangled whale
Credit: Center for Coastal Studies, NOAA permit #18786-05

“During the night the whale traveled roughly 25 miles north to the waters outside Boston Harbor, but sometime in the early morning she dragged her entanglement into more fishing gear and had become anchored in place,” the center said in a statement. “A lobster vessel found her and reported her predicament, and the CCS team deployed for a second rescue attempt.”

Valley got tied up in more gear and was only able to swim in small circles when rescuers arrived. They used a hook-shaped knife connected to a 30-foot pole to cut the gear away, and tied buoys to the rope in her mouth that allowed her to move away from the entanglement.

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Happily, the whale was able to move away from the gear at high speeds.

The CCS emergency responders used specially-designed knives on long poles to cut the line from the heavily-entangled whale
Credit: Center for Coastal Studies, NOAA permit #18786-05

“Based on her relatively poor body condition it appears that she had been entangled for weeks or months, so it’s likely that the entangling gear was picked up somewhere on her migration north from the humpback mating and calving grounds in the West Indies,” the center said. “Now free from the stress and exhausting effort of dragging the heavy entanglement, Valley’s prognosis is good.”

Boaters who see an entangled whale or other animal should call the MAER team at 1-800-900-3622, or contact the Coast Guard.

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CBSBoston.com Staff