Surge in Whales Tangled in Monterey Bay Fishing Lines Tests Ocean Advocates

Increasing incidents illustrate how the ecosystem is changing off local shores

The morning fog in Moss Landing is still thick when Peggy Stap and her volunteer whale rescue crew load up their GPS-equipped buoys, flying knives and repurposed lacrosse helmets.

It’s just after 9 a.m. on this Tuesday morning when Stap steers her 40-foot boat into the harbor. Her 13-year-old rescue dog, a local social media celebrity known as “Whiskie the Whale Spotter,” shares the captain’s seat. After a quick safety check—calm water, good weather—Stap relays the latest radio chatter to her small team of researchers, photographers and curious visitors.

“Tim’s got a gray whale that doesn’t look healthy,” Stap says. She revs the engine and heads for the open waters of the Monterey Bay.

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