Whale entanglements drop, but remain major threat, feds say

A North Atlantic right whale feeds on the surface of Cape Cod bay off the coast of Plymouth, Mass. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, File)

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The federal government says the number of whales entangled in fishing gear has declined recently, but the entanglements remain a critical threat to rare species.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Tuesday there were 53 confirmed cases of large whales entangled in gear in the U.S. in 2020.

The agency says that was a 25% decline from the previous year and a lower figure than the 13-year average.

Entanglement in fishing gear is one of the biggest threats to declining species of whales, particularly North Atlantic right whales, which number less than 340 in the world.

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