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  • MLCA


If you see an entangled whale, contact the NOAA Fisheries hotline immediately at 866-755-6622.NOAA Disentanglement Network Certification Levels: Level 1: Professional mariners (i.e. fishermen, naturalists, Marine Patrol Officers). Boating experience and/or experience around whales is highly suggested.


Rapidly alert NOAA Fisheries Disentanglement Network of first hand and/or second hand knowledge of local entanglements;

Depending on experience, stand by an entangled whale until backup arrives; and/or

Communicate with crew on the vessel that is directly standing by the entangled whale and offer to replace the stand-by vessel until additional backup or the response team arrives. Level 2: Professional mariners. There is a higher expectation of commitment and participation from Level 2 responders.


Provide a thorough assessment of the nature of the entanglement and the species, condition and behavior of the whale;

Provide local knowledge, transportation, and assistance to Primary First Responders, as needed, on a voluntary basis;

Be on call, as available, to assist in planned disentanglement operations on telemetry-tagged whales. Level 3: Whale researchers and naturalists, fishermen, natural resource agency personnel, Marine Patrol Officers.


Be on call 24 hours and respond if conditions allow;

Initiate and maintain preparedness with local fishing industry, U.S. Coast Guard, and other resources;

Prepare local disentanglement action plan;

Provide entanglement assessment, documentation and recommendations to Primary Disentanglers during events;

Attach telemetry equipment to entangling gear if needed and authorized.

May be asked to disentangle a minor entanglement other than North Atlantic right whale under the supervision/authorization of Level 4 or 5 network members. Authorization and supervision may be given over the phone or radio depending on the circumstances and level of experience. Level 4:


Report, stand by, assess, document, attach a telemetry buoy, consult on an action plan and disentangle all large whales except North Atlantic right whales

Report, stand by, assess, document and attach a telemetry buoy to North Atlantic right whales

On a case-by-case basis and after consultation, certain cuts on known entangled North Atlantic right whales may be permitted at level 4 if the proposed action is first approved by NOAA Fisheries Service and/or level 5 disentanglers

Level 4 Disentanglers should routinely be able to attempt disentanglement of all large whales other than North Atlantic right whales. Level 5:


Report, stand by, assess, document, attach a telemetry buoy, consult on an action plan and disentangle all large whales including North Atlantic right whales.


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