A whale rescue group released a large humpback whale entangled in fishing gear on the south coast of Newfoundland last week.

Wayne Ledwell, director of Whale Release and Strandings, told John Furlong, host of CBC's Fisheries Broadcast, that the whale was not doing well when they set out to free it on Wednesday in the Hermitage Bay area.


The skin on the tail area of this large humpback whale in the Hermitage Bay was damaged by fishing gear it had become entangled in. (Whale Rescue and Strandings )

"It was towing snow crab gear or some other sort of gear, based on the rope that was on it. The animal was in pretty bad shape — it had been towing gear for a long, long time and it had cut into it pretty severely, almost down to the bone," said Ledwell.

A wound of that nature means the whale had been entangled for quite some time, according to Ledwell.

"It was a messy job, but we got it out and it seemed to orientate itself … we watched it for about an hour or so and then it picked up a bit of steam and headed out the bay. Hopefully it makes it," said Ledwell.

Senses relief

Ledwell believed the whale knew he and his team were there to help it.

"You start to take something off him and he seems to sense relief. At the end of it it seems to be easier than when you started. You would assume they are sensing relief for this — there's something good happening to them," said Ledwell.