Whale stranded on Pea Island this week was found entangled in fishing gear

By on April 17, 2024

(Cape Hatteras National Seashore photo)

NOAA Fisheries Communications Specialist Allison Garrett provided this update on the death of a juvenile humpback whale found stranded on Pea Island this week. An investigation is ongoing.

Here are the details.

A humpback whale was reported to partners in the stranding network on the evening of Saturday, April 13, about 150 yards offshore of Rodanthe, North Carolina. The next morning, a local fisherman saw and reported the whale alive and entangled in fishing gear off the coast of Rodanthe. On Tuesday, April 16, the whale stranded on the shore of Pea Island with gear entangled around a pectoral fin and in its mouth. The whale is a juvenile female and is 31.5 feet long. Due to the presence of fishing gear, NOAA’s Office of Law enforcement is investigating this incident.

There is an ongoing Unusual Mortality Event for humpback whales in the Atlantic. This is the 220th case in the UME.


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  • Whale H8R

    Rest well sweet prince.

    Wednesday, Apr 17 @ 9:20 pm
  • Jeff

    So was the whale rescued or not

    Thursday, Apr 18 @ 11:35 am
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice


    Thursday, Apr 18 @ 12:58 pm
  • Glenn

    Very sad.

    Thursday, Apr 18 @ 4:08 pm
  • Badfish

    FV Salvation caught a whale a few days back lol

    Thursday, Apr 18 @ 4:17 pm
  • Travis

    Drift nets fishing needs to go back to hemp ropes or some other biodegradable material. They are giant, indiscriminate vacuums that kill and waste a lot of marine life.

    As Whales and dolphins have advanced acoustic capabilities AND are intelligent, I wonder why nobody has come up with the equivalent of a deer whistle for drift nets. Something that warns at least some animals to steer clear of the area.

    Friday, Apr 19 @ 10:51 am
  • NC Beachy

    They knew about the whale on saturday but no one came to help until the boat captain saw it. And then all they did was give him instructions over the radio to help the whale. I guess we only care about turtles and birds not whales.

    Friday, Apr 19 @ 1:23 pm
  • Mark Jurkowitz | Outer Banks Voice

    Without suggesting your account isn’t accurate, can you tell us how you know what happened?

    Friday, Apr 19 @ 9:59 pm
  • Andy

    If stuff like that existed, sea grant and others wouldn’t need to be here. Dead whales and turtles make jobs

    Friday, Apr 19 @ 5:31 pm
  • NC beachy

    I was on the beach in Rodanthe watching and i talked to a lot of people on the pier. The patk ranger was taking pictures and he said NOAA was giving directions to the boat captain.

    Saturday, Apr 20 @ 7:37 am