An endangered Arabian Sea humpback whale has been rescued after being stranded off the coast of Oman's Port of Duqm late last month.
A concerted effort involving specialists and volunteers successfully freed the whale after it was entangled in a net for more than two days. The rescue operation was undertaken by the Environment Authority, Port of Duqm, Five Oceans Environmental Services LLC, Oman's Coast Guard, and the Royal Air Force of Oman, in addition to support from the Oman Stranding Network and the Environment Society (ESO).
Suaad Al-Harthi, executive director of ESO, explained that the "Arabian Sea Humpback Whales are the only non-migratory species of humpback whales and they are endemic to the Arabian Sea. Unfortunately, we estimate that there are less than 100 remaining, so every individual is even more precious if they are to have a future."
We would like to express our sincere thanks to the dedicated team of specialist who have been working with guidance from the IWC Global Whale Entanglement Network and to the Port of Duqm, ROP Coastguard and RAFO who have all supported this effort.
— Port of Duqm Company (@portofduqm) January 21, 2021
"We would like to express our sincere thanks to the dedicated team of specialists who worked under the guidance of the International Whaling Commission's Entanglement Response Network, and to the Port of Duqm, the Royal Oman Police Coastguard and the Royal Air Force Oman who all supported this effort. Without them this mission wouldn't have been a success," she added.
Aida Al Jabri, specialist of marine environment at the Environment Authority, was also quoted by the Times of Oman as stating: "We are pleased to lead this effort in Oman and would like to remind everyone of the shared responsibility we have to protect our oceans and the wildlife that inhabits them."
Owing to unique markings on its tail fluke and dorsal fins, the humpback whale was identified as being previously documented on Oman's cetacean database, having first been sighted in 2010 in the Gulf of Masirah and again in 2011 and 2014. It was also spotted on two occasions last year off the same port.
As the mammal spends its entire life in the Arabian Sea it is prone to threats of extinction and faces the dangers of abandoned fishing gear.
The efforts by the Omani agencies received praise from the International Whaling Agency reported Gulf News, with an appreciation letter sent to the head of Oman's Environment Authority.