Tangled whale rescued near Crescent City

This undated photo provided by NOAA shows a humpback whale entangled in fishing line, ropes, buoys and anchors in the Pacific Ocean off Crescent City, Calif. (Bryant Anderson/NOAA Fisheries MMHSRP Permit# 18786-01 via AP)

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. (AP) - Rescuers freed a badly tangled humpback whale near Crescent City that was caught by fishing anchors that were dragging it to the ocean floor.

A whale -entanglement team, fishermen and others rescued the whale Tuesday. Team leader Pieter Folkens said freeing the whale took nearly eight hours of cutting lines, buoys and anchors.

The trapped whale was spotted two miles off Northern California last week. Folkens said the animal had two fishing lines running through its mouth, up to eight fishing buoys wrapped around a fin and fishing anchors pulling its tail straight down.

Spokesman Michael Milstein says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will try to identify the shrimping vessels believed responsible for the lines. Officials said it was the seventh instance this year of humpbacks caught in fishing gear off the West Coast.

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