On west coast, fishermen echo considerations over whale guidelines raised by east coast counterparts

Within the wheelhouse of a crab boat named Heidi Sue, Mike Pettis watched the grey whale floor and shoot water by way of its blowhole.

Tangled round its tail was a polypropylene rope used to drag up crab traps. It took two males with serrated knives 40 minutes to free the whale, which swam away with a small piece of rope nonetheless embedded in its pores and skin. That was in 2004, off the waters of Waldport, Oregon.

Pettis, a crab fisherman, mentioned it’s the one time in his 44 years of fishing he has ever seen a whale caught in crab strains, and he believes that’s proof such encounters are “extraordinarily uncommon.”