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A humpback whale strains krill in the waters of Southast Alaska. Most of the documented cases of large whales entangled in fishing gear in 2020 and 2019 — in Alaska and in the nation — involved humpback whales, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Most Alaska cases occurred in Southeast, according to NMFS. (Photo provided by NOAA)





Alaska was the only U.S. coastal region to have an increase in the confirmed cases of large whales entangled in fishing gear in 2020, a contrast to a national trend of declining cases over the past six to eight years, according to a report issued Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Of the 53 cases of large whales entangled in fishing gear nationally in 2020, 11 occurred in Alaska, according to the report, from NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. The previous year, there were 75 confirmed cases of whale entanglements nationwide, with nine of them occurring in Alaska, according to a separate report for 2019 also released Tuesday by the fisheries service.



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