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Second whale caught in fishing gear freed off California coast

North Coast Marine Mammal Center

Crews were able to untangle a gray whale that had gotten caught in crab pots in Humboldt Bay in California.

A second gray whale entangled in fishing gear along the California coast has been freed.

The latest whale was spotted Tuesday afternoon in Humboldt Bay — south of Eureka, Calif. — with crab pots hanging from its tail fluke.

The U.S. Coast Guard, along with members from Humboldt State University Marine Mammal Stranding Network and the North Coast Marine Mammal Center, spent hours chasing down the animal so they could untangle it.

They were successful in their joint effort Wednesday morning. The rescuers said the young small whale was actually tangled with a buoy and a fishing line as well as the crab pots.

The rescuers said they think the whale only suffered minor injuries. The teams are staying out in the water to make sure it safely gets back into the wild. 

Last month, a 40-ton gray whale was found tangled in fishing line attached to three buoys off the coast of Orange County.

A rescue attempt in Southern California was unsuccessful, until the whale was spotted by a fisherman more than a week later up near Bodega Bay. 

A crab fisherman and his crew used 12-foot bamboo poles with hooks to remove the lines. 

They had no idea of the the whale's plight and only learned that they had rescued an infamous creature after returning to dock and someone asked him about an extra buoy on the boat.

This story originally appeared on NBCBayArea.com

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